Story: Two decades after the traumatic death of her mother, Cindy (Krystle Martin) is returning to her hometown of Newville with her father Lou (Flip Kobler), to hopefully get some closure. The town hasn’t changed much on the surface, but something is off and despite the holidays being underway, no one in Newville is celebrating Christmas. No lights, no presents, no candy canes, in fact no one seems to be willing to even talk about it, let alone talk about the mysterious death of Cindy’s mother. She remains convinced some kind of monster was responsible, but the locals get nervous and dismiss her, even when her father is killed under similar circumstances. Just when she starts to think perhaps she is just paranoid, she meets Doc (John Bigham), who not only believes her, but lost his own wife to the same creature. Can Cindy somehow uncover the truth and finally move on, or is she doomed to suffer the same fate as her parents?
Entertainment Value: A sort of Hallmark Christmas movie from hell, The Mean One takes aim at holiday cinema and of course, that involves its titular character, who is definitely not The Grinch. These kind of movies can sometimes be one note and not live up to the potential of the parody elements, but The Mean One doesn’t rest on the novelty of the premise. The narrative has a lot in common with The Grinch’s tale of course, but as I said, this also borrows from the formulaic Hallmark and Lifetime holiday movies, with both aspects executed quite well. As you can likely imagine, there are also some horror elements woven in and despite all those ingredients blended into the mix, The Mean One works and is quite a fun ride. I appreciated all the references to Dr. Seuss’ body of work and while the basics of the narrative of predictable (as you’d expect from a Hallmark parody), there are numerous little twists and turns that keep things fresh. This is especially true of the final act, which dials up all the wackiness and leads to a wild, super fun finale. The cast is good and seems to be in tune with the material, especially our lead Krystle Martin and John Bigham as Doc. Martin is a capable lead and is a lot of fun to watch, as she can handle all of the various demands and turns in a terrific performance. Bigham steals the show at times, with some of the funniest lines and overall, the cast comes through and makes the most of the material. I had a great time with The Mean One and for anyone who appreciates seasonal horror or outlandish parodies, this one is recommended.
No nakedness, this is a wholesome seasonal romance that leans into violence, rather than sleaze. There is some blood and horror style violence in The Mean One, though it is typically over the top or comical in nature. So the gore isn’t graphic, but it is fun to watch and is worked into the narrative flow well. There’s a massacre at a casual dining restaurant that has most of the body count and crimson, a kind of over the top saloon brawl gone wild. You can also find flesh eating, trouble with a bear trap, gunshot wounds, decapitation, neck trauma, and a butcher knife makes an impact. The dialogue is fun and made more fun by the cast, who run with the wacky vibe and dial up their performances. Some of the jokes are lame, but they’re still mostly humorous thanks to the cast’s efforts and there are fun references, one liners, and exchanges as well. Doc has a good deal of the best lines, but there is some solid awkwardness, silliness, and camp in general. If you’re a Hallmark or Lifetime fan, you’ll get some extra appreciation from some of the corniness here. As for general wackiness, we have an epic training montage, trained eyes, very unusual fish, a drunk Santa crew, Christmas bows used off label, a reference to the viral leprechaun video, some Home Alone vibes, a candy cane shotgun, and an epic showdown finale.
Overall Insanity: 5/10