When discussing David Fincher’s work, Panic Room doesn’t come up too much. With popular, well-received films such as Fight Club (which I have yet to watch), The Social Network, and Gone Girl, I feel like Panic Room gets forgotten sometimes. Though it is not groundbreaking like the rest of the films mentioned, Panic Room is a unique take on a home invasion thriller to which I have to say I enjoyed a lot.
I typically don’t find suspenseful-type genres like psychological thrillers or horror exciting to watch because they do nothing for me personally. However, I’m starting appreciate the home invasion stories such as this year’s Hush and Don’t Breathe. Unlike supernatural elements like ghosts, home invasions are relatable to everyone because nobody wants to experience their homes being threatened by any type of danger. And to see how individuals overcome these obstacles to escape these dangers is a treat to witness. With that being said, I see a lot of similarities between Panic Room, Hush, and Don’t Breathe.
Fincher layered Panic Room very well. You take a simple premise of people trapped in a confined space while intruders are searching for a way to get into that same room and add emotional elements of frightfulness and desperation. With that in mind, the movie ends up as a game of chess as both parties try to outplay each other’s manoeuvres.
I thought Jodie Foster and Forest Whitaker stole the show with their performances as they are the ones that are direct competition to get the best of one another. The young Kristen Stewart was fun to watch as well. It was interesting to see her perspective as a young person experiencing her home being taken over. I wasn’t too thrilled with Jared Leto’s character however as he came off as a stereotypical dumb, goofy criminal that added nothing to the film.
As mentioned earlier, we got to witness the characters in various emotional states. What is so smart about Panic Room is that Fincher makes you the audience feel the exact same emotion what the characters are feeling such as sadness, hopelessness, claustrophobic, and frustration just to name a few. As you start to edge closer to your seat with suspense, you wonder in you head if their strategies are a clever or foolish and if you’d do the same thing or not.
This was my third time watching Panic Room and it was just as enjoyable as my first. Some people call this movie underrated, whereas I look at it as underappreciated. Though it is not an innovator of its kind, it is probably one of the most well-known home invasion movies out there. Who knows, perhaps if this movie never existed we wouldn’t have gotten Hush or Don’t Breathe so I thank Mr Fincher for creating an entertaining psychological thriller that other directors can look at for inspiration.