A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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 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.
Talk to your kids 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?
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?
- In theaters: April 15, 2011
- On DVD or streaming: October 4, 2011
- Cast: Courteney Cox, Emma Roberts, Neve Campbell
- Director: Wes Craven
- Studio: Dimension
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 103 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong bloody violence, language and some teen drinking
- Last updated: February 26, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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