It was a beautiful evening on Christmas Eve until a young child named Cindy heard a noise downstairs. Cindy discovered a stranger wearing a Christmas suit, and she wasn’t frightened, not one bit, even though the person in the costume was, in fact, some green monster. However, when Cindy’s mother also checked out the noise, she was horrified that Cindy was interacting with someone or something horrifying. Cindy’s mother attacked the stranger wearing the red suit and was killed during the struggle. Cindy witnessed her mother dying in front of her. Cindy’s love for all things Christmas turned to hate after that tragic evening.
Almost twenty years have passed, and we now follow a grown-up Cindy (Krystle Martin) again during the holiday season. Cindy is returning with her father to her hometown of Newville based on the advice she received from her therapist and is hoping to get some closure. At the same time, she is trying to sell off her old home. However, while Cindy tries to return home seeking peace with her father, it’s not long until the green monster reappears, starting with her nightmares. Soon, brutal murders occur in town, and those who are jolly are discovered in pools of blood. Cindy is confident that the green monster wearing a Santa suit has returned after twenty years, but everyone around her can’t understand why Cindy would make such claims except for a rookie deputy who is quite fond of Cindy upon first impressions. Meanwhile, the town mayor and the sheriff are working together and are determined not to have another Christmas with wild claims of a Christmas killer lurking around. Cindy continues to investigate and seeks out the mean one, causing all the havoc and chaos, and hopes to find the truth once and for all.
“The Mean One” is best described as a horror and comedy. The horror aspect, including the general idea of the film, is excellent. I loved how “The Mean One” could be turned into a horror film conducting a murderous rampage upon a small town. Fun fact: while we all know what “The Mean One” suggests (cough, the Grinch), it’s never mentioned or said. The general performance, look and costume of the green creature are fun and meaningful, and those who enjoy seeing him dish out some outrageous, violent kills will also find this element a jolly one. It should also be noted that the actor who plays The Mean One is David Howard Thornton, who is highly popular for bringing another evil character to life, Art The Clown from Terrifier (2016) & Terrifier 2 (2022). The film also carries a voice narration, which sounds much like actor Anthony Hopkins, spoofing The Grinch (2000), which originally starred Jim Carrey.
While the concept and some horror elements are joyous, the film’s dialogue and script are equivalent to a lump of coal. Lines such as “Let’s roast this beast” or “Move over, Bigfoot, there’s a new monster in town” had me cringing in my seat. Apart from “The Mean One,” characters are also forgettable, and audiences won’t find themselves caring about their survival. Subplots surrounding the town’s mayor are uninteresting and meaningless, filling in the runtime. The third act is also horrendous in attempting to achieve a showdown, but again, it’s a weak finale that tries to surprise audiences with a big reveal, but it’s only more baffling and unexplainable and drags the film on far more than required.
Overall, with a solid concept and a great idea as a horror and comedy, “The Mean One” has a few minor treats for movie lovers, such as the main villain himself, along with costume designs and ridiculous kills filled with jolly amounts of blood, violence, and absurdity. The film’s attempt at comedy is torture, like receiving a lump of coal on Christmas day, and the leading characters are either uninteresting, unlikeable or highly forgettable. If you laugh at this film, it will generally be for the wrong reasons, such as poor dialogue, awkward characters, or cheesy one-liners. I can’t say I loathe this film entirely, but given its potential, it’s a missed opportunity.