Fresh Meat #8: The Mean One (2022)

The Mean One is a take on How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and unbeknownst to me, was released last Christmas. It was in theaters briefly, enough to earn about $600,000, and then it’s been hiding in the background of our minds until it was recently released on VOD.  


In a sleepy mountain town, Cindy’s parents are murdered, and her Christmas is stolen by a bloodthirsty green figure in a red Santa suit, The Mean One. But when the ravenous, Christmas-hating creature begins to terrorize the town and threatens to ruin the holiday, she finds a new purpose: trapping and killing the monster. 

IMDb: 3.8 

Rotten Tomatoes: 20% 

Tagline: Slashing Through the Snow 

It’s the hip new thing to do horror takes on old properties. Winnie the Pooh is the hot new horror franchise since the rights have become public domain. Peter Pan and Bambi are next. This, however, is unauthorized, so they can’t mention much about the original story, hence the different title. Yet we can have the same names of characters and an obvious killer that looks just like the damn Grinch.  

David Howard Thornton is the name I instantly recognized and decided to watch the movie based off of his name value alone. In case you are unaware of who he is, he plays Art the Clown in the Terrifier movies. However, I did not recognize the director, Steven LaMorte. Apparently, he has directed a lot of TV movies, music videos, and shorts, with this being one of his few feature films. Ironically, this was a fake trailer originally that went viral and eventually was expanded to feature length.  

The film COULD be a smart funny yet scary take on the original, but I feel like the film doesn’t know which way it wanted to go. It never really commits to one extreme or the other. At times, it’s funny and smart, like the restaurant that is called Horton’s (Horton Hears a Who), or the character that is named Dr. Zeus (as in Dr. Suess, get it?). There’s even the rhyming narration by the creepily voiced Grinch. But then it goes straight horror, complete with a nice creepy dreamlike fantastical score (including twisted takes on some Christmas favorites) and cheap jump scares. 

The acting is decent enough, much better than you would find in any Asylum flick. It’s a bit cheesy and overacted at times, perhaps to play it comedically, but not funny either way.  

However, the special effects fall squarely in the SyFy realm. There’s way too many CGI blood squirts. However, the Grinch looks pretty cool and without a doubt, David Howard Thornton absolutely steals the show in every scene he’s in. I just wish some of these smaller films would NOT use these horrible effects and simply avoid showing it on screen, or simply write a better script that doesn’t rely on delivering an effect that you can’t successfully pull off.

The “twist” ending is fun and it adds another layer to the film, but it’s still just a crappy B horror film. It’s fun, but not fun ENOUGH. It’s witty, nut not witty ENOUGH. It’s got some decent scares, but not scary ENOUGH. It also suffers from not knowing what kind of film it wants to be. Scary? Funny? Heartfelt?

I feel like this movie fits with the Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey film that was released earlier this year. It’s extremely low budget and amateurish, but it proved that there is an audience for these kinds of movies. I feel that will amp up the production values for future films in this “based off of classic children’s stories” genre. It won’t be too long before major production companies, seeing how well these little films do at the box office with simple online marketing, start making big budget versions for wide release. Until then, we’re stuck with these shitty versions. 

5.0/10 Stab Wounds 

About RetRo(n) 61 Articles
I like the 80s, slasher films, Italian directors, Evil Ed, Trash and Nancy, Ripley and Private First Class Hudson, retro crap but not SyFy crap, old school skin, Freddy and Savini, Spinell and Coscarelli, Andre Toulon, and last, but not least, Linda Blair.