It’s time to reach for a Ghostface mask (and a tin foil hat) with the frankly bizarre theory that Dewey Riley is a mysterious third killer in Wes Craven’s Scream. The iconic 1996 slasher gave fans the shocking reveal that Billy Loomis and Stu Macher were BOTH the killers in a twist that literally no one saw coming.
Scream left a legacy that spanned until 2010’s Scream 4 and a franchise where you never quite knew what was going to happen. Now, we’re lifting the lid on a well-plotted theory that David Arquette’s bumbling Dewey Riley was the mastermind of Billy and Stu’s original bloodbath.
Posting on Gorehound Mike, Mike Vaughn gives a thorough rundown on what makes Dewey potential Ghostface No.3. While some of it is just nonsense ramblings, there’s some pretty solid detective work that’s gone into this. Even Gale Weathers would be proud!
1. His convenient injuries
First off, Dewey suffers similar non-life threatening injuries to Stu and Billy. The blundering boys assume that if they give each other a number of shallow stab wounds, they won’t be implicated as Ghostface.
The credits roll as a wounded (but alive) Dewey escapes his brush with Ghostface. If you were a murderous mastermind, you don’t want to die in the midst of your own scheme…
2. He’s quick
The movie establishes that Sidney lives in the middle of nowhere. Sid uses that odd text 911 service to call for help as Ghostface chases her through her own house.
Cut to the next scene and there’s Dewey, ready for action. He’s there on her doorstep AND holds the mask in a particularly creepy way. While the picturesque Prescott abode is pretty, there’s no way Dewey could’ve got there that fast.
While this was probably a red herring from writer Kevin Williamson, there could be more to it.
3. He gives Billy an alibi
Although the first half of Scream builds toward Billy being exposed as Sid’s unhinged boyfriend/psycho killer, he’s seemingly let off the hook when taken into custody during a Ghostface attack. Who else noted that it’s Dewey who takes Billy in and throws everyone off the scent.
Working with Billy and Stu, Dewey’s arrest makes a neat alibi for two of the potential three killers and sends the rest of the gang in the wrong direction.
4. Those shoes
One mystery that remains unsolved is Ghostface’s unusual wardrobe of police-issue shoes. The slasher psycho cuts through the various kids and the adults of the town wearing some pretty clumpy workboots. It just so happens that this is the same tactical footwear worn by the Woodsboro PD.
5. Tatum’s death
Finding your sister hanging from a cat flap with her neck snapped might be enough to send most people under. Scream fans have often questioned why Dewey didn’t seem to mourn the death of Tatum Riley after he finds her dead body at the Macher massacre.
Wild theorists claim he’s behind Tatum’s grisly goodbye and was sick of being downtrodden by his younger sibling. Admittedly, Dewey could be in shock/too busy hunting a serial killer to shed a tear, but if not, does that make him the killer?
6. That convenient timing
We’ve already covered Dewey’s convenient injuries, but what if we couple this with some convenient timing. If you look at the franchise as a whole, Dewey is incapacitated at some pretty crucial moments.
Redditor u/zionhyome writes, “He is always either incapacitated or otherwise busy during the final showdown. This is the big one, for me.
“During this time, he could be acting. If he’s in on it, he’s nothing to lose with either side. He could be waiting for them to finish, so that he can take the side of the one that wins.”
7. His horror knowledge
Even though Dewey isn’t exactly a Randy Meeks (RIP) when it comes to horror movie knowledge, he’s pretty well-versed on the genre. The Scream franchise has always pitched its killers as horror-obsessed lunatics that know their Freddy from their Jason, and Dewey could fit that mold.
As well as easily reciting the plot of The Town that Dreaded Sundown, Dewey doesn’t go all the way with Gale. The first rule of horror is don’t pop your cherry, and while we assume Gale and Dewey eventually did the nasty, they didn’t in the first movie.
8. Ice cream
Finally, it’s a case of, “You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream”. One scene sees Sidney and Tatum being stalked by Ghostface in a grocery store. As the pair pick up snacks, Ghostface’s reflection is seen in the freezer aisle.
Cut to the next scene and BAM, there’s Dewey enjoying a tasty ice cream. Maybe he loves frozen treats, or maybe he loves gutting innocent victims like a fish.
So, is Arquette’s dim-witted cop really the mastermind behind the Woodsboro Murders? With Spyglass Media Group reportedly working on resurrecting Scream for another slash at the box office, audiences could finally see the mystery solved.
I always thought it was a little too convenient that Dewey, Gale, and Sidney survived three massacres and walked away with just a few scars. Remember that the limping Dewey from Scream 2 was quickly back to his old self by the time Scream 3/Scream 4 rolled around.
Even if Dewey wasn’t the Man on the Grassy Knoll of the original Scream, who’s to say the events of the other three movies didn’t drive him to madness?
Whether you’re convinced or not, let’s also remember that the Wayans Brothers’ Scary Movie exposed the Dewey-esque Doofy as the criminal mastermind. Well, there’s something for us all to mull over!