The mean one is finally available, bringing us an unauthorized parody of Dr Seussthe beloved book How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The film walks the line between reference and trial, pushing the boundaries of how a parody can resemble the original without breaking copyright law. It’s because The mean one reinvents the classic Seuss tale into a brutal and bloody horror film. Simultaneously, The mean one retains all the beats of the original story, shattering viewers’ expectations of how the Grinch story should unfold. So now that The mean one hit theaters, let’s break down that ending and how the director Steven the Dead managed to create a Grinch-inspired Christmas nightmare.
Who’s the bad guy?
The mean one takes place in an alternate timeline where the Green Monsters’ plan to steal Christmas has taken a dark turn. In the original Dr. Seuss story, the Grinch is caught by young Cindy Lou. The monster sends the girl back to bed, but their meeting will ultimately help her realize that Christmas is about more than gifts and toys, it’s about love and caring. In the film, the girl even gives the monster a necklace as a sign of friendship.
In The mean onehowever, Cindy You-Know-Who’s mother surprises the monster with her daughter and immediately attacks the green creature (David Howard Thorton). It’s a reasonable reaction to find a monster in your living room, to be fair. However, the Mean One kills Cindy You-Know-Who’s mother during their struggle. The young girl, shocked by the horrific events of the night, calls the villain a monster, filling her heart with rage and breaking her sanity.
A simple change on that fateful night ripples through the events of The mean one, which take place twenty years after the green creature killed Cindy’s mother. It’s party season again, and Cindy (Christine Martin) is back in Newville with her father to overcome his PTSD and finally accept that the trauma led her to imagine a monster the night her mother was killed. Unfortunately for Cindy, she soon discovers the monster is real when her father becomes another victim. Worse still, Newville seems to be afraid of Christmas, because the town’s mayor (Amy Schumacher) and the sheriff (Eric Boulanger) work together to appease the beast that lives in the mountains.
How Newville deals with the villain
After killing Cindy’s mother, the villain has become a psychopath ready to kill anyone who tries to keep the Christmas spirit alive. Newville experienced a wave of strange deaths and disappearances in the following years, always around Christmas time. After a few years, Sheriff Hooper discovered the Villain in the mountains and attempted to keep the beast at bay by feeding it cattle dressed in Santa Claus costumes. To protect Newville, the sheriff also banned all Christmas decorations, songs, and food, so that no citizen would come to the monster’s attention.
Nine years after the murder of Cindy’s mother, Doc Zeus’ wife (John Bigham) is killed while carrying Christmas presents to the post office. In this incident, the Mean One acquired a taste for human flesh, which forced the sheriff to take extreme measures to protect Newville. After becoming mayor, McBean offered to create a tourist website inviting people to hike in the mountains near the city. This way, the mayor and sheriff could keep a steady influx of tourists for the Villain to feed on, ensuring the safety of Newville’s residents. The strategy worked for eleven years until Cindy returned and brought the beast back to town.
Cindy you-know-who saves Christmas
After Cindy returns to Newville, the Mean One begins attacking the townspeople. The sheriff and mayor do everything they can to keep Newville’s dark secret, including blaming Cindy’s PTSD. After a while, however, Cindy decides she won’t run away anymore and begins hunting the Bad Guy herself. She pushes herself to the peak of her physical strength, sets traps around her house, and crafts many Christmas-themed weapons, such as candy cane guns, exploding Christmas trees, and kerosene-filled balls that can be used like pomegranates.
Cindy uses decorations to lure the villain into her home and has Doc waiting with a sniper rifle. The trio fight to the end of their strength, sustaining heavy injuries. Finally, Cindy pins the Villain to the ground, grabbing a knife hidden in gift wrapping. Cindy is ready to stab the villain and end his reign of terror, but at the last moment she notices that the villain is still wearing the necklace she gave him twenty years ago. The Mean One has become a killing machine due to the trauma of that night and the rejection of sweet Cindy You-Know-Who.
Understanding that the Villain is a victim of circumstances, just like herself, Cindy decides to forgive the monster. Moved by Cindy’s final act of kindness, the Villain immediately changes his mind. Literally. The villain’s heart suddenly swells to three times its size, bursting inside its chest and killing the creature.
After Mean One’s death, Deputy Burke (Chase Mullins) disposes of his body and buries the truth about what happened in Newville. Since the mayor and sheriff died the same night as the creature, it’s up to Burke to protect the town, which means hiding the horrible things that Newville’s former rulers did to keep the citizens safe.
However, footage captured by Cindy trying to find the villain went viral, leading thousands on the internet to speculate if the monster was real. The Mean One becomes a Big Foot-like legend, and Newville becomes a busy tourist attraction. At the end of The mean one, business is booming in Newville, people are celebrating Christmas again, and Cindy has finally recovered from her PTSD. She also begins a romantic relationship with Deputy Burke, while Doc Zeus remains her loyal friend. The film’s narrator teases that someone nasty might reappear next Christmas, but all is well in Newville so far.
The mean one is now available in theaters.