Scream 4

  • Review Date: April 14, 2011
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2011

Common Sense Media says

Ghostface killer returns for more bloody slayings.
  • Review Date: April 14, 2011
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2011





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Most of the teens in this movie behave at least somewhat badly. They swear, drink, and flirt, and they spend too much time with social media. And even the grown-up characters seem to have used their bad experiences for personal gain.

Positive role models

Most of the movie's characters aren't intended to be role models, but Sidney continues to exhibit heroic tendencies and bravery. In one scene, she rushes into danger to try to save a teen. And Dewey is still a model citizen, showing bravery, leadership, and integrity.


Tons of blood -- pumping, gushing, gurgling, spraying, and splattered on walls. One victim even has her intestines on display. Many gory, vivid stabbings and a few shootings, and at least a dozen dead bodies. Also several fights, and characters are often tossed about, slammed, and battered.


The teen characters are aware of their sexuality, but it's not often discussed in detail or shown. Two teens flirt and almost kiss, but they're interrupted. Teens talk about romantic relationships, but without any physical or sexual details.


Strong, frequent language includes many uses of "f--k" and "s--t" in various permutations, plus "bitch," "t-ts," "for God's sake," "t-ts," "a--hole," "douche," "eat me," "ass," "hell," "damn," "oh my God," "goddamn," and "d--k."


Facebook is mentioned in one scene.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Teens are seen drinking hard liquor to the point of drunkenness during a party.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the long-awaited fourth installment in the popular Scream slasher series is ultra-gory but as smart and self-aware as the previous movies. There's tons of blood and gore (stabbings, visible intestines, and more) and lots of strong language (including multiple uses of "f--k" and "s--t"), and one sequence shows heavy teen drinking. There's also some flirting and almost kissing, but sex isn't a big issue. In one update from the original films, the movie's teen characters now spend a lot of time on social media (Facebook is mentioned once). Teens are quite likely to want to see this one, but parents should take the R rating seriously.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) returns to the small town of Woodsboro on the last stop of her successful book tour. She reconnects with Dewey (David Arquette), now the sheriff, and his wife, Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), who has given up reporting to write fiction. But no sooner does Sidney arrive in town than the Ghostface killings begin again. Before long she discovers that her entire family -- including cousin Jill (Emma Roberts) and aunt Kate (Mary McDonnell), as well as Jill's friends -- are in trouble. Worse, this time the rules regarding sequels, remakes, reboots, and webcams are far too complicated and no longer apply. Will this finally be the end of Sidney?

Is it any good?


Director Wes Craven more or less phoned in the last movie in the series, Scream 3, but here he and screenwriter Kevin Williamson appear refreshed and ready to attack the franchise with renewed vigor. With Williamson's clever, grinning screenplay and Craven's sharp, crisp direction, the movie juggles many postmodern themes, including the issue of many horror sequels, remakes, and reboots, as well as the explosion of social media and the Internet.

But these many themes never become unwieldy; rather, the movie constantly stays on its toes. Just as something begins to smell fishy, the movie points it out before anyone else can. It's alternately funny and tense just when it needs to be. And even though the younger characters barely resonate, the older ones bring their histories to this new movie and build on them dramatically. It's just too bad that Sid and the others don't have a relationship with old Ghostface, who's brought to life by a new character in each film; that could have been an interesting take.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the film's intense violence and blood. Is it necessary to get the movie's point across? How does it compare to other horror movies you've seen? What's the impact of these kinds of images?

  • Is the movie scary? Does it concentrate more on fright, suspense/mystery, or clever references? What would make the movie scarier -- or less scary?

  • How does the movie depict teen depict teen drinking? Are there realistic consequences?

  • How does the movie portray use of social media like Facebook? How has media's influence on teens changed since the original Scream movies came out?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 15, 2011
DVD release date:October 4, 2011
Cast:Courteney Cox, Emma Roberts, Neve Campbell
Director:Wes Craven
Run time:103 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong bloody violence, language and some teen drinking

This review of Scream 4 was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written bykhan2705 May 1, 2011

worst of the series.

In Scream 4, Sidney Prescott, now the author of a self-help book, returns home to Woodsboro on the last stop of her book tour. There she reconnects with Sheriff Dewey and Gale, who are now married, as well as her cousin Jill (played by Emma Roberts) and her Aunt Kate (Mary McDonnell). Unfortunately Sidney's appearance also brings about the return of Ghostface, putting Sidney, Gale, and Dewey, along with Jill, her friends, and the whole town of Woodsboro in danger. The newest installment in the acclaimed franchise that ushered in a new wave of horror in the 1990s is written by series creator Kevin Williamson and directed by suspense master and director of the first trilogy, Wes Craven. The film stars Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox-Arquette, David Arquette, Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Rory Culkin, Anthony Anderson, Adam Brody, Mary McDonnell, Marley Shelton, Nico Tortorella, Marielle Jaffe, Kristen Bell, Anna Paquin, Lucy Hale, Shanae Grimes, Aimee Teegarden and Brittany Robertson.

well well well i will call this 4th installment of this beloved slasher series, the worst of the series. well i wasn't much anticipated for this movie i mean i am so tired of watching Ghost face, i mean enough already. it got much mixed reviews, and i didn't liked it too. only extremely die hard fans of this series and this genre will love it but i didn't. Scream 1 was the best ever, Scream 2 was good, Scream 3 was average and now this one is a bad movie, the worst of the series. Critics really panned Scream 3 but still i think atleast it had a somewhat good plot and story was not that bad but this one was very badly written. i knew how this movie will turn out i mean what is left there to explore.

scream movies have lost its charm the slasher guilty pleasure we use to get the fun thrill suspense it had it is just lost. this movie lacked a good plot, story was very below average and the screenplay was the worst ever written, seriously screenplay was very bad.

acting performances were awful too, the new cast didn't do well according to me. Hayden Panettiere was okay, Emma Roberts needs to work alot on her skills but still i appreciate her efforts. other supporting cast was average. all the guest appearances were kind of good. the old cast was kind of lost somewhere i don't know but David Arquette was good.

Direction was not that good i must say. movie was very dull and almost empty in many points. the beginning guest appearances the movie within a movie thing grabbed my attention and my interest but was lost in the middle ofcourse. the end scene were awsome i must say.

all in all i didn't liked this movie at all, disappointed very much but if you are a fan a big fan you might like it.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 5 year old Written byMarie10 May 1, 2011
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written bycandyx. May 1, 2011

LVE IT X!! ") :]


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Top Kids' Movies: An Essential Guide for Families