Metascore
52

Mixed or average reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 32
  2. Negative: 3 out of 32
  1. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Apr 13, 2011
    83
    It's about time that another Scream flick came along to gouge the new cliches out of their sockets. Scream 4 does it in grandly Guignol style.
  2. Reviewed by: Josh Levin
    Apr 16, 2011
    80
    Craven guides us expertly down a series of blind, bloody alleys, a journey that's more pleasurable than frustrating. On account of his steady hand, the last act is as good as could be expected: skillfully conceived and entertaining in its preposterousness.
  3. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Apr 14, 2011
    80
    The kills themselves are both bountiful and bloody, the movie references are brilliant and bloody, the funny is very frequent and very frequently bloody, but to say any more would ruin the boo.
  4. Reviewed by: Kevin C. Johnson
    Apr 15, 2011
    75
    Don't be late to this homecoming of director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson's horror series, which begins with a twisty opening sequence that's bloody fun.
  5. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Apr 14, 2011
    75
    A strange concoction, clever and self-knowing in the extreme and yet operating in primal ways that bypass wit. Something about it feels very modern.
  6. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Apr 14, 2011
    75
    The film isn't as concerned with terrifying you as it is with showing you a good time, culminating with an over-the-top climax that is simultaneously utterly ridiculous and enjoyable.
  7. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Apr 16, 2011
    70
    Existing in a self-contained universe, Scream 4 is its own remake (Screamake), sequel (shriekquel), parody and critique. Thus it taunts and pleases audiences, mocks and justifies itself and makes any review redundant.
  8. Reviewed by: Ben Sachs
    Apr 14, 2011
    70
    The burden of creative responsibility feels heavier here than in any of the previous installments, ditto the trauma of seeing teenagers get stabbed to death. As a result this is quite effective as horror filmmaking and more pungent than anything he's done in a while.
  9. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Apr 13, 2011
    67
    Some of the riffs are really funny and/or expertly scary. Others have the feel of awfully snappy dialogue crafted by middleaged people trying a little too eagerly to sound like the young people from whose mouths the banter flows.
  10. Reviewed by: S.T. VanAirsdale
    Apr 14, 2011
    65
    It would have a very good shot at being entertaining were it not so outwardly concerned with being important.
  11. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Apr 14, 2011
    63
    For genre geeks, this can be fun - although nothing in Scream 4 is quite as clever as the filmmakers seem to think it is.
  12. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Apr 14, 2011
    63
    It's fun to see that charming underreactor Neve Campbell, looking about 20 minutes older, back as Sidney Prescott.
  13. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Apr 21, 2011
    60
    The generational mix of actors works well enough, although Campbell too often seems stranded with little to do until the climax.
  14. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Apr 14, 2011
    60
    It's almost really cool, without quite being really cool.
  15. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    Apr 13, 2011
    60
    The picture delivers enough of the expected goods, if seldom with the wit or panache of the series' best.
  16. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Apr 12, 2011
    60
    Don't go in expecting scares so much as laughs. Scream 4 is a better "Scary Movie" than any of the "Scary Movies" ever were, from its inventively gut-busting kills (watch out for that mail slot!) to the unintentionally humorous sight of the three leads acting as if they're in three separate films.
  17. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Apr 19, 2011
    50
    Scream 4 is so obsessed with the self-referential element that made the original Scream unique that it loses the capacity to be genuinely scary or funny.
  18. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Apr 15, 2011
    50
    Why doesn't anybody just buy a gun? I guess the female characters spent all their money on tight tank tops.
  19. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Apr 15, 2011
    50
    Between a diabolically funny start and a surprise climax, Scream 4 offers nothing more than a series of gory deaths that grow tiresome with repetition. The rating is a hard R, but Craven and Williamson keep it soft at its core. "Scream 1" is still the only keeper.
  20. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Apr 14, 2011
    50
    It's hard to sustain that cheeky meta humor, and the film seems to just give in and join its slasher brethren, devolving into a string of gruesome, but unoriginal, slayings.
  21. Reviewed by: Nathan Rabin
    Apr 14, 2011
    50
    It's rare for a sequel to extensively acknowledge its own pointlessness, let alone make the unnecessary nature of its existence a recurring theme, the way Scream 4 does. Then again, the Scream franchise has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to deconstructing itself and the rules of the slasher genre.
  22. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Apr 14, 2011
    50
    All through the movie, Scream 4 lets us know that it knows exactly what it's up to - and then goes right ahead and gets up to it.
  23. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Apr 14, 2011
    50
    Scream 4 has a smart beginning, featuring Anna Paquin and Kristen Bell, and one well-delivered line at the end that would have brought down the house in a better movie.
  24. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Apr 13, 2011
    50
    A fast-starting film that quickly piles meta, self-referential elements on top of each other until they no longer make much sense, and the whole thing collapses under the weight of its own coolness.
  25. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Apr 21, 2011
    40
    Too self-referential for its own good by half.
  26. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Apr 15, 2011
    40
    After a promising start that uses Anna Paquin and Kristen Bell to perfection, they settle into their old stomping grounds as if they'd never left - and that turns out to be a letdown.
  27. Reviewed by: Mike Hale
    Apr 14, 2011
    40
    The central conceit of the characters' fates being determined by the "rules" of horror movies feels irredeemably tired; a clever idea that was worth one movie.
  28. Reviewed by: David Hughes
    Apr 14, 2011
    40
    A desire to Know What You Did Last Installment is likely to be the biggest draw for Scream number four, but if this proves to be the last in the series, it's a bloody shame it ended not with a Scream but a whimper.
  29. Reviewed by: Todd Gilchrist
    Apr 13, 2011
    40
    If there was ever a horror film that made fans of the genre feel old, it's Scream 4.
  30. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Apr 14, 2011
    38
    The problem is, the movie doesn't really care if we are laughing with it or at it.
  31. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Apr 13, 2011
    38
    It's a fitfully amusing, not remotely scary slasher picture.
  32. Reviewed by: Nick Pinkerton
    Apr 12, 2011
    30
    The enjoyable moments are limited to Alison Brie, funny as Sidney's publicist, and the final recasting of the movie as a backstage diva drama. As ever, the self-reflexive horror stuff is superficial, loveless, and constant-a ladled-on sauce to disguise what you're eating.
User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 301 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 86 out of 115
  2. Negative: 12 out of 115
  1. Apr 15, 2011
    10
    I definitely have to say..speaking as a HUGE fan of the first 3 films that 11 yrs later in Scream 4...i was definitely thoroughly entertained. It was an amazing opening and ending that still has me thinking WOW! I highly recommend this to any horror fan and any fan of the first 3 films...way to go Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven...cant wait for Scream 5 and 6! Full Review »
  2. Apr 19, 2011
    4
    i found scream 4 to be hilarious, with its sudden outbursts and random comments, just adding some blood and guts to it makes it all the more weird. but what made this movie funny is that all the actors constantly try to avoid there inevitable death with their knowledge of scary movies that they've seen. If wes craven and kevin williamson thought this movie was gonna be scary they were far from right. suspencful maybe. scary not close. Full Review »
  3. Apr 15, 2011
    10
    To start, I am a massive "Scream" trilogy fan, but my thought in going in was that "the franchise has had it's time and this is completely new, a new trilogy". The film rewrites the rules of the first trilogy, and one of the most evident changes comes in the opening scene, in which 2 characters, 1 male, 1 female are killed. This scene will be seen as either boring and long-winded, or completely genius; my belief being the latter. It excited me and shocked me, without ever leaving the viewer lost, and in it's last moments (while giving a violent nod to a famous death from the 1st film) becomes the most violent and aggressive pre-title scene from all 4 films. Following a couple of misleading "jumps" and a little exposition, with the original 3 survivors positions all being developed quickly and efficiently, it isn't long before the film delves into the "who's next?" pace. With the standard "CiCi/Candy" kill being presented, in this movie as a more intelligent, brutal killing (and a particularly active Sidney Prescott facing off with 'Ghostface'), the movie already feels very different to it's predecessors. The kills are creative, quick and in heavy supply, and the list of suspects is soon whittled down, leading to the most shocking, well-acted, and at times hilarious conclusion that leads the viewer asking "When is Scream 5 coming out?".
    The overall game is still same, but the rules are so different that this movie is the most dramatic of the lot. Roll on 5.
    Full Review »