When Scream was released in 1996, it single-handedly revitalized the horror genre while proving that you can never watch too many slasher movies. After a twisting narrative, the film reveals that bad boy Billy Loomis and his goofy friend, Stu, are behind the Ghostface masks. They manage to outwit the bumbling Deputy Dewey before they’re done in by Sidney Prescott - but some fans believe that Dewey is the real killer and that he was actually in on the whole thing.
This game-changing proposal about Deputy Dewey is one of the more intriguing ’90s fan theories out there. Not only does this theory, claiming that the goofy cop is actually controlling things from behind the scenes, change the dynamic of the film, but it also demonstrates that in the affluent town of Woodsboro, nothing is as it seems.
Sidney Prescott lives in the middle of nowhere. Her father's house is surrounded by woods and rolling green hills, and in the impressive helicopter shot that ends the film, it's clear that no one lives within a mile of the family - so how does Deputy Dewey reach her house so quickly after she tries to make an online call to 911?
When Sidney is being chased through her home by Ghostface, she tries to call 911 from her computer before the intruder stops her. She escapes his grasp and reaches the front door, where she finds Dewey waiting and holding the Ghostface mask. Fans are suspicious of Dewey's quick arrival - while he may have simply been watching out for his sister's friend, he also may have given Billy a ride to the remote home.
An interesting clue hinting that Dewey is Billy and Stu's puppetmaster is that Dewey is harmed in the same manner as the teenagers, who knife one another to feign their victimhood. Billy and Stu explain that if they both have enough shallow punctures, no one will suspect they're actually the culprits.
Similarly, Dewey has shallow knife punctures on his back and a broken arm, but nothing life-threatening. Why - after they literally rip apart their other targets - would Billy and Stu take it easy on Dewey, unless he was also involved in their plot?
One of Scream's major twists occurs near the middle when Billy is taken into custody by Dewey after he's found skulking around Sidney's place with a cell phone in his pocket. Dewey hauls him in as the main Ghostface suspect, meaning Billy is under surveillance when Sidney gets a call from the voice-masked slayer.
By bringing Billy into the station, Dewey actively gives Sidney's ex an alibi. This throws everyone off Billy's trail and gives Stu a chance to call Sidney so Billy can be released. While the audience assumes that Stu makes the call while Billy is locked up, Dewey is in his room with the door closed when the call comes in. He doesn't even leave his room until the call is finished, even though both Sidney and Tatum are clearly agitated throughout the conversation.
One of the many running themes of the Scream franchise is that Deputy Dewey is absolutely no help in catching masked offenders. In every film, he is either knocked out or harmed, or he sleeps through every important moment. Some fans, like Redditor /u/zionhyome, believe this is all purposeful:
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.