Parents' Guide to

Scream

By Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Teen slasher parody has strong violence and language.

Movie R 1996 111 minutes
Scream Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 70 parent reviews

age 14+

Self aware, entertaining horror/comedy flick has gruesome images and violence

Scream (1998) isn’t what you’d expect from a slasher film whatsoever, and this is because it both pokes fun at and uses classic horror tropes to its advantage mixing in the perfect amount of dark comedy! Despite this, the film gets increasingly violent as it goes on, and even the opening scene is shocking and scary. VIOLENCE: SEVERE A woman is taunted and horrified on a phone call where a man tells her that he’d like to see her intestines and more. In the opening scene, a man is shown tied to a chair out on a woman’s lawn with blood on his face and duct tape covering his mouth. The lights on the lawn turn off and we hear him being sliced before the lights turn back on revealing him to be gutted with his intestines hanging out. A few, brief shots of this are shown in dim lighting, and this is less disturbing than it sounds. A woman is chased down into her backyard and stabbed in the chest by the killer (no blood) before he cuts her neck and repeatedly stabs her mostly offscreen, however blood is shown covering the knife and her body as the knife swings up and down. She is later shown with countless stab wounds being dragged across the lawn before we see her hanging from a tree with her intestines strung out. This is far more disturbing than the last kill. Multiple scenes depict victims running from and fighting back against the killer, depicting mostly comical instances of violence (slipping and falling, hitting with fridge door and other mild things) despite the actual murders being gruesome and bloody. A man is repeatedly stabbed in the stomach with a knife and dies, this is slightly bloody but the mildest and most brief instance of killing in the film. We hear about a woman who was raped and murdered a year prior to the events of the film. This isn’t explained in any detail, only mentioned. A handful of scenes depicting face punching. All of this is mild. A woman falls out of an attic window and lands on a soft surface unharmed. A woman gets chased down by the killer and is sliced on the wrist before she crawls into a small slot in a garage door. Her head gets stuck in it and the killer starts to open the door, causing her neck to be crushed by it. The lights are shown flickering and she is shown dead, however this isn’t very graphic and only shows a small amount of blood after. A man is stabbed a few times showing blood, but later we find out this is staged. A man has his throat slit causing blood to gush and pour out of the wound as he stumbles around. Later, blood is shown pooled all over the floor where he was killed but his body isn’t there. Instead, blood covers a car window and his body slides down is smearing blood everywhere and causing the driver to go into a state of panic, forcing the bloody corpse off of the van. A van crashes. A man is shown with a knife in his back as he stumbles to the ground, he is okay. A man is repeatedly shot and falls to the ground. He does not die. In the final sequence, two insane men gold a woman captive as they take out a hostage from a closet and begin to create a story for their murders. To do this, they begin stabbing each other in the stomach once onscreen and then again multiple times offscreen, the one man is briefly shown running the knife up the others back. They both bleed and get blood everywhere and anywhere while they run around. A woman is kicked against a pole and hurts herself, however she lives before a man is kicked in the crotch, flipped over a couch and bit in the wrist before a vase is smashed against his head. Finally, the woman pushes a TV on his head killing him and causing it to spark everywhere. After, a man is suddenly stabbed twice with an umbrella and then repeatedly shot causing him to fall to the ground. Afterwards he gets up and is finished off by a shot to the head. This scene is incredibly menacing, violent and very bloody. LANGUAGE: MODERATE Around 19 uses of “f*ck” and several uses of “b*tch” and “sh*t”. Other curses include “slut”, “whore” and other swears. SEXUAL CONTENT: MILD A handful of make out scenes and one light sex scene depicting some thrusting, however this is clothed from the waist up and shown also from the waist up and the scene lasts for only a few seconds. Countless sexual references to sex, virginity, rape and other subjects. OVERALL: 14+ for disturbing violent images and behavior, language and sexual references
age 11+

I would say it’s PG-13

This movie was a great starter for Caroline she really enjoyed it. She covered her eyes at the last seen but I think this was a great starter!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (70 ):
Kids say (371 ):

The film made a huge impact upon its release in 1996, cleverly playing on the horror genre rules in a way that felt smart and fresh. Directed by horror icon Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street) and written by Kevin Williamson (who went on to create the likes of The Faculty and Dawson's Creek), Scream brought a sharper level of intelligence, production values, and acting talent to the teen slashers that exploded in ticket sales almost 20 years earlier. The result was a hit that appealed to aficionados with its in-jokes and array of movie references and to audiences just looking for a fun teen slasher with a few good scares and a modern twist. Here, the media-savvy characters are hungry for real-life drama yet desensitized to its outcome -- a theme that runs throughout the Scream franchise.

It's a testament to the original that Scream has continued to make itself relevant to new audiences, with four more films released over the following 25 years, continuing to attract big names like Drew Barrymore, Luke Wilson, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Kristen Bell, David Schwimmer, and Laurie Metcalf. But don't be lulled by the star power and satire: The violence here is brutal, intense, and gory. Though the thrilling pace, high school drama, and steady jolts will likely keep young audiences watching, this movie is best for older teens and adults.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: December 20, 1996
  • On DVD or streaming: December 8, 1998
  • Cast: David Arquette , Jamie Kennedy , Neve Campbell
  • Director: Wes Craven
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors
  • Studio: Dimension
  • Genre: Horror
  • Run time: 111 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: violence, profanity, sex, mature themes
  • Last updated: February 9, 2024

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