Casts : Forest Whitaker, Kristen Stewart, Jodie Foster
The film focuses on a panic room, a safe shelter usually located inside a residence. The panic room in this film is protected by a four-inch-thick steel door and an impressive security system, and features a phone line not connected to the residence.
The residence is 38 West 94th Street in Manhattan, a four-story townhouse that was previously owned by a disabled reclusive millionaire. Following the owner’s death, the house was bought by Meg Altman (Foster), a woman, recently divorced from the owner of a pharmaceutical giant, who is planning to go back to college. Meg has a 12-year-old daughter Sarah (Stewart) who suffers from Type 1 diabetes.
On the night the two move into the home, it is broken into by Junior (Leto), the grandson of the previous owner, and Burnham (Whitaker), an employee of the security company used by the residence. The two are after $3 million in bearer bonds, which is locked inside a floor safe in the panic room. Unknown to Burnham until after they’ve broken in, Junior has recruited Raoul (Yoakam), a bus driver who lives in Flatbush, to assist in the heist.
After discovering that the Altmans have moved into the home one week before they anticipated, the burglars decide to go on as planned with the heist. However, Meg wakes up and discovers the intruders from the CCTV monitors in the panic room when she wanted to switch off its glaring light. Before the three can stop her, she runs to Sarah, wakes her by pouring water onto her face, and together they escape to the panic room.
The three make several attempts to get into the room, including filling the room with propane to get the Altmans to come out, and tunneling in from underneath. Both do not work.
The Altmans make several attempts to call for help, including signaling a nearby neighbor with a flashlight (who they can only see from the opening of a water pipe) and tapping into the main telephone line to call for help (because Meg has not yet hooked up the panic room’s phone). Only one works; the two get through to Meg’s husband and Sarah’s father, Stephen, before the burglars cut them off. To make matters worse, Sarah collapses due to hypoglycaemia caused by her diabetes and unfortunately the glucagon injections are in the fridge.
When all attempts to get into the room fail, Junior lets it slip that there is much more money in the panic room than he let on, and gives up. Burnham and Raoul find out that the bonds are actually worth $22 million. Upon trying to leave the house, Junior is shot in the head by Raoul. Stephen Altman arrives at the home and is then taken hostage by Raoul and Burnham. Raoul beats him to a pulp. They then use the unconscious Altman to trick Meg (who is desperate to get the glucagon injections for Sarah) into momentarily exiting the panic room. Raoul ambushes her and a brief struggle ensues which ultimately results in Raoul and Burnham becoming trapped in the panic room with the critical Sarah, and Meg outside with Raoul’s gun. However Meg was able to throw in the glucagon syringe in time and begs the two intruders over the intercom to give Sarah the injection, which Burnham, being the more humane of the two, later does.
However, a police patrolman arrives having received Altman’s call earlier. With Sarah trapped with the two burglars, and Raoul threatening to kill her, Meg lies to the officer. Meanwhile, Burnham gets to work on the safe and obtains the bearer bonds. As the duo attempt to leave while using Sarah as a hostage, Meg and the badly injured Altman attack them. After an intense struggle, Burnham flees while Raoul prepares to kill Meg with a sledgehammer. However, upon hearing her screams for help, Burnham doubles back and kills Raoul, delaying him enough that he gets caught by the police who return as the earlier patrolman was suspicious at Meg’s behaviour. As they approach, he releases the bonds, letting them fly off into the night.
The film closes with Meg and Sarah searching for a new house in the newspaper.