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Scream 4

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Scream 4 Movie Poster Image
Ghostface killer returns for more bloody slayings.
  • R
  • 2011
  • 103 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 20 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 70 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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 & Representations

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.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
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?) app... Continue reading
Adult 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 lo... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bycerealkiller189 November 30, 2011

Best scream movie of the lot!!

Got it on amazon I have the collectors edition,blu ray and quadrilogy.this is awesome.new killers and warning:major spoiler this time there are two instead of o... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byBrandon4News May 26, 2011

Masterful, knowing satire for older teens and adults.

It all started when she picked up that phone. We all know that you don't pick up a ringing phone in the middle of the night, but Young Drew Barrymore was a... Continue reading

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?

  • 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

For kids who love scary movies

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