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"PANIC ROOM"
(2002) (Jodie Foster, Forest Whitaker) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Heavy Extreme Extreme Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None Extreme None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Mild Minor Mild Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Suspense/Thriller: A trio of criminals tries to lure and force a mother and her daughter out of a secure room in their new home that contains something the men want.
PLOT:
After her recent divorce from husband Stephan (PATRICK BAUCHAU), Meg Altman (JODIE FOSTER) and her teenage daughter Sarah (KRISTEN STEWART) are looking for a new place to live. They think they find it in a unique and rather immense brownstone in Manhattan's Upper West Side. Among its many features is a secret "panic room," a secure shelter just off the master bedroom complete with it impenetrable walls, a separate ventilation system and phone line from the main house, and a bank of surveillance monitors showing most of the home's interior.

The room makes Meg feel claustrophobic, but she figures she'll never use it. On their first night in their new home, however, a trio of burglars has arrived there, unaware that anyone has moved in yet. Once in, however, Burnham (FOREST WHITAKER), Junior (JARED LETO) and the newest addition to their team, Raoul (DWIGHT YOAKUM), decide they can't turn back.

When Meg finally realizes there are intruders in her home, she manages to grab Sarah from a floor down and seal themselves inside the panic room just in time. Once inside, they can see the criminals' whereabouts, but Meg then realizes that she forgot to activate that room's phone line and her cell phone is still in the bedroom.

Using the whole house intercom system, Meg tries to bluff the criminals into leaving, but Burnham, who makes a living installing such secure rooms, knows she couldn't have contacted the police. The criminals then let Meg know that what they want is in fact inside the very room where she and Sarah are hiding.

As the criminals then secure the rest of the house so that Meg and Sarah couldn't escape or call for help even if they left the room, they try to figure out how to lure or force the two from there, all while Meg tries to figure out how to thwart their efforts, get them to leave and protect herself and Sarah.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of someone in the cast, films by director David Fincher, or well-made suspense thrillers, they just might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For violence and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JODIE FOSTER plays a single mom who's moved into a new house with her teenage daughter. Suddenly thrust into the panic room when 3 people break in, she tries to figure out how to get rid of the criminals while protecting her daughter. She uses strong profanity.
  • KRISTEN STEWART plays her teenage daughter whose diabetic condition puts her in peril when she's stuck in the panic room. She uses strong profanity.
  • PATRICK BAUCHAU plays Meg's ex-husband who tries to come to her rescue but runs afoul of the criminals.
  • FOREST WHITAKER plays a criminal who's intent on gaining access to the panic room and what it contains, but is somewhat concerned about not harming Meg or Sarah. He uses strong profanity.
  • JARED LETO plays his unlikely partner, the grandson of the former owner who knows what's hidden in the panic room. He uses strong profanity.
  • DWIGHT YOAKUM plays a mysterious criminal invited by Junior to participate in the heist. As things become tenser, he becomes more dangerous and violent.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated suspense/thriller. Profanity consists of at least 70 uses of the "f" word, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Some brief, sexually related dialogue is also present. Violence includes several people being killed by gunfire (with bloody results), others being injured and/or beaten, and various instances of property damage.

    The perpetrators of such violence and other criminal behavior have extreme cases of bad attitudes, and many scenes and sequences throughout the film will probably be unsettling, suspenseful and/or frightening to some viewers, particularly those with low tolerance levels for such material. Beyond that, one character drinks some wine, another briefly smokes, one looks for some narcotics, and some tense family material involves a mother and daughter still being affected by the parents' recent divorce/split.

    If you're still not sure about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with the flashing of lights on the screen, some moments of that occur from a damaged fluorescent light.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Meg has wine with dinner, and later has more. We then see her in the bathtub with a glass and bottle of wine next to it (she downs the glass of wine in one gulp).
  • Junior prepares to smoke something and Burnham comments that won't help him think, but we don't know what that was (tobacco or drug-related).
  • Hoping to find something for his burn wounds, Junior complains about how a person can live in New York and not having any Percoset.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see Meg sitting on the toilet and hear her urinating, but don't see anything explicit.
  • Junior has some burn marks on his face after he's briefly covered in flames.
  • Blood squirts out when a man shoots another man in the head (we then see the hole). As the killer drags the body across the floor, blood smears across it. Later, we see more blood behind the victim's head.
  • Stephan has some blood from his nose and across his face after being hit. After he's beaten some more, his face is even bloodier.
  • Blood squirts out and splatters onto others when a person is shot in the head.
  • Meg and Sarah have bruises on their faces from where they were hit.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Burnham, Junior and Raoul obviously have extreme cases of both for breaking into Meg's home and trying to steal some hidden materials, terrifying her and her daughter by their actions, and the way they treat others and each other.
  • A realtor has a bit of a condescending/mean attitude toward another realtor for being late.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and/or "Blood/Gore" may also be unsettling, suspenseful or frightening for viewers, especially those with low tolerance levels for such material. In addition, most of the film, once the initial break-in occurs, is one tense/suspenseful scene or sequence after another.
  • We see the various criminals trying the windows and doors around the house at night as they try to gain entrance to it. We then see Burnham, once inside, slowly making his way through the house and spying upon Meg and Sarah as they sleep in separate bedrooms on separate floors.
  • Once Meg wakes up and starts moving about the house, we worry that she'll run across the criminals and/or they'll do something to her. Once she sees them on the surveillance monitors as they start to come upstairs, she quietly races to get Sarah and then tries to get to the panic room (including a brief stint in the elevator going up and down) before the men spot them (they just barely do).
  • Burnham and the others attempt to force Meg and Sarah from the room by pumping gas from a propane tank into the ventilation system. That causes Meg and Sarah to panic and try to figure out how to stop the gas (while choking on it) and get fresh air into the room. Meg then attempts to light a lighter by sticking it and her arm into the ventilation shaft. Burnham realizes this might be what she's doing and tells the others to turn off the gas, but they won't. The lighter then ignites the gas, causing an explosion that knocks her to the floor (and causes flames across the ceiling of the panic room), and knocks Junior backwards and catches him on fire (as the propane tank flies around the room).
  • Meg leaves the panic room and tries to retrieve her cell phone, but has trouble reaching it. While doing so, she accidentally knocks over a lamp that alerts the criminals who then come racing her way as she tries to get the phone and return to the panic room.
  • As Meg tries to reach an active phone line in the wall to tap into the dead phone in the panic room, Burnham races toward the basement, hoping to disconnect the line before she can make a call.
  • Raoul kills a man and then threatens another.
  • Raoul pistol-whips Stephan and then holds a gun to Burnham's face, with the hot barrel burning him. After threatening both again, Raoul kicks Stephan to his knees and then repeatedly kicks him. He then hits him on the head with a large, portable light and then kicks him in the face.
  • Sarah begins to convulse from her worsening diabetic condition and Meg tries to do what she can to help her. When she thinks she has the chance, she races from the room again, this time going for Sarah's insulin, but doesn't realize that Raoul is nearby.
  • Meg slams a door into Raoul. He then catches and struggles with her, throwing her across the room. As he races to get inside the panic room as Burnham closes the automatic steel door, Raoul's hand is caught and crushed in the door (causing him great pain and trapping him there). That results in the two of them being in the panic room with the still convulsing Sarah, while Meg is outside the room with Raoul's gun.
  • When the police arrive at the front door, Meg must try to convince them that nothing is wrong (since the criminals have Sarah in the panic room).
  • The violent, ending sequence of the film, where Meg tries to deal with the criminals and save Sarah will probably be tense and suspenseful to viewers.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handgun: Used to threaten, wound or kill others. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "F*ck him," "F*ck her too," "Who the f*ck is Raoul?" "What the f*ck /is this/is the matter with you/is she doing/does she think she's doing?" "F*ck that," "F*ck you," "Get the f*ck out of my house," "Shut the f*ck up," "You f*cking bitch," "Calm the f*ck down," "I don't need the f*cking aggravation," "F*ck up," "It's totally f*cking moot," "You were going to f*ck us" (nonsexual), "We'll f*cking find you," "Don't you f*cking move," "Get the f*ck away from it," "F*cking asshole," "Who gives a f*ck?" "Stay the f*ck away from me," "No sh*t," an incomplete "You're full of sh*t," "Is this sh*t funny to you?" "Bullsh*t," "I'm not built for that sh*t," "Holy sh*t," "You scared the sh*t out of me," "That lying little sh*t," "(Let's) quit d*cking around," "Shut up," "What the hell /are you doing/is going on?" "Idiot," "Balls" (testicles), "Numb nuts," "I'll shove it up your ass and snap it off," "Jerk wad," "Put him on the phone bitch" (woman to woman), "Smart ass" and "Why the hell didn't we do that?"
  • Junior gives "the finger" to Meg via the surveillance camera.
  • Burnham and the others attempt to force Meg and Sarah from the room by pumping gas from a propane tank into the ventilation system. Meg then uses a lighter to ignite the gas and send an explosive force back down the ventilation system (and then tells Sarah afterwards to promise that she'll never do anything like that).
  • Meg mouths "F*ck you" to the criminals via the camera.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of suspenseful and ominous music plays during the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 70 "f" words (1 used with mother," another incomplete one used with "mother," and 1 that's visibly mouthed), 19 "s" words, 2 slang terms using male genitals ("d*cking"), 1 slang term for sex ("banging"), 4 asses (1 used with "hole"), 3 damns, 3 hells, 1 S.O.B., 6 uses of "G-damn," 4 of "Oh my God," 2 of "Christ" and 1 use each of "My God," "Oh God" and "Oh Christ" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • When others worry about a husband possibly coming home, Junior says that Stephan is "banging" some model and doesn't live there.
  • Meg shows some cleavage, particularly when briefly on her hands and knees.
  • When the police arrive and Meg tries to convince them that nothing is wrong (since the criminals have Sarah in the panic room), one of the officers wants to know what she was trying to say in her phone call to Stephan that started with, "There are three..." She then makes up a line, "There are three things I'll do for you if you come over and jump in bed with me." After a moment, one of the cops asks the other if they're going to go or if he wants her to tell him which three things.
  • SMOKING
  • Junior smokes a cigar once (and nearly smokes it or something else in another scene).
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We learn that Meg is recently divorced from Stephan and neither she nor Sarah are adjusted to that yet (and are bitter about it). In an early scene, Sarah says (about her father and apparently his new wife/girlfriend), "F*ck him. F*ck her too." (Meg says, "I agree").
  • Meg worries about Sarah, particularly in relation to her diabetes.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • What happens/what to do when someone breaks into your home, and being prepared/having a game plane for such an occurrence.
  • Divorce.
  • Moving into a new home.
  • Diabetes.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Upset that Meg and Sarah made it into the panic room, Junior repeatedly slams the mirrored door that leads into that room, breaking the glass.
  • Raoul hits the ceiling below the panic room with a sledgehammer, tearing up the ceiling but getting nowhere.
  • Burnham uses a hammer to tear open a wall to gain access to a ventilation shaft.
  • After Burnham and the others force propane gas into the panic room via the ventilation system, Meg tries to ignite a lighter in that shaft. The lighter then ignites the gas, causing an explosion that knocks her to the floor, pops some lights and causes flames across the ceiling of the panic room. It also knocks Junior backwards and catches him on fire (as the propane tank flies around the room).
  • Raoul smashes a phone junction box with a sledgehammer.
  • A man shoots another man in the head. He then stands over the body and shoots him in the head again (with bloody results).
  • Raoul pistol-whips Stephan and then holds a gun to Burnham's face, with the hot barrel burning him. After threatening both again, Raoul kicks Stephan to his knees and then repeatedly kicks him. He then hits him on the head with a large, portable light and then kicks him quite hard in the face several times, resulting in some rather severe injuries.
  • We hear what sounds like fighting, but can't see anything beyond some moving shadows. We then see Burnham carrying a man's body down the stairs.
  • Meg slams a door into Raoul. He then catches and struggles with her, throwing her across the room. As he races to get inside the panic room as Burnham closes the automatic steel door, Raoul's hand is caught and crushed in the door (causing him great pain and trapping him there).
  • Meg starts smashing the surveillance cameras with a sledgehammer, and breaks mirrors in bathrooms.
  • A man aims a gun at others and Meg then hits a man in the face with a sledgehammer, sending him falling over a railing and down a floor. The injured man slowly makes his way back up the stairs and the other man repeatedly tries to shoot him but misses, as does Meg with the sledgehammer. The injured man knocks the man with the gun from his chair and Meg to the floor and then comes at her, grabbing her by the feet and then crawling on top of her.
  • As they struggle (and he strangles her and slams her head onto the floor), Sarah then jumps on him and repeatedly jabs syringes into his back. He then punches her in the face and prepares to hit Meg with the sledgehammer, but is shot in the head by someone else (with bloody results).



  • Reviewed March 13, 2002 / Posted March 29, 2002

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