Scream 4 Movie Poster Image

Scream 4

Ghostface killer returns for more bloody slayings.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 103 minutes

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.

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 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/Streaming 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

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Ratings

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate.

Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

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 byBestPicture1996 June 10, 2015

Weakest of the franchise

What saves this film from being totally forgettable is it's meta (they keep referencing the term "meta" so it's even more meta, get it?) approach, which this series has always taken, and the motive of the killer, which is timely since the film came out a decade later after "Scream 3." Courtney Cox, Neve Campbell and the rest know these parts so well they could do "Scream 34" and still do a serviceable job. Anthony Anderson is always a welcome character actor presence, check him out on the gag reel of this movie if you can, I wish they'd have utilized him more. But what I got was a lot of the same, the movie producing kind of lame lines (weird because the original writer of "1" and "2" returned) and cliches it simultaneously mocked and did at the same time. But like I said, it's not a bad film, but teeters close to one if it didn't have the series' trademark witty smirk attached to it.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written bybob likes cheese February 15, 2012

Story of love, redemption and acceptance.

Amazing story of Love, redemption and acceptance. Truly heartwarming. Many positive messages and role models. Despite the one bad guy everyone gets along and loves each other
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byloserforChrist9028 June 8, 2011

Not for young teens

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking