A fellow named Seuss wrote a character called “Grinch.” Mr. Jones just knew a hit cartoon would be a cinch.
But lo and behold, horror hacks “parodied” this wit. Such a pity the filmed “Mean One” turned out to be s—.
“The Mean One” is a horror spoof of a certain Universal-licensed green “mean one,” himself the subject of a movie or two, and a TV special that’s become a holiday classic.
The film’s a bloody, grim and not very funny account of Cindy Lou you-know-who dealing with ongoing issues about the mass murderer, “The Christmas Killer,” living on the pointy-topped mountain that overlooks tiny Newville and all who live in it.
That’s right, Cindy Lou (Krystle Martin) is coming back to her hometown. Dr. Seuss’s sugary account of how she converted the Christmas-hating mountain man/beast into loving Christmas wasn’t, our narrator (Christopher Sanders) rhymes, “how it went down.” Her mom died fighting the toothy, growling green creature (in a costume Jim Carrey might have worn) that came down their chimney that Christmas Eve long ago.
Dad (Flip Kobler) is driving her “home” so she can get a little closure. But the creature of her nightmares is still around. And when he starts killing again, it becomes clear the town’s in denial, or in cahoots.
Cindy Lou and the town’s lone Jew (Chase Mullins), a cop, are on the case, with everybody else in this Christmas-banning village trying to stop them.
Officer Burke sings “Dreidel Dreidel Dreidel,” makes nose jokes and takes his best shot at speaking in Woody Allenese, as he offers his help.
“That would’ve been nice.”
“Would’ve. That sounds...future imperfect!”
Slasher films aren’t the hardest genre in which to finance, film and fake the bare minimum of competence. This looks pretty amateurish, from script and settings and shot selection to the acting. The slaughter scenes are generic. What’s most amusing are the ways they work their way around intellectual property parameters to try and rustle up an anemic laugh or two.
This guy who seems to know what’s going on is named Zeuss.
“Zeuss? Like the god?”
“Everybody calls me ‘Doc.'”
“He’s a mean one, that Mister…” is interrupted by the waitress hollering out take out orders.
“FINCH! Last call for Mike Finch!”
The narration may be the most Seussian thing about “The Mean One.”
“Cindy’s nightmares continued about the blood and the beast. If she hadn’t lost her mind, she’s misplaced it, at least.”
But I did not care for “The Mean One” mess. I do not like bastardized Seuss, I confess.
Rating: unrated, bloody violence
Cast: Krystle Martin, David Howard Thornton, Amy Schumacher, Chase Mullins, narrated by Christopher Sanders.
Credits: Directed by Steven LaMorte, scripted by Finn Kobler, Flip Kobler and Steven LaMorte. A Sleight of Hand release.
Running time: 1:33