Review: Cocaine Bear

Cocaine Bear poster

That sure was a bear on cocaine!

A drug cartel’s supply of cocaine is ejected out of a plane only to scatter across the American Georgian forests, only for a black bear to go on an addiction rampage.

Directed by Elizabeth Banks, Cocaine Bear is… well, it is what the title implies. Probably up there with Rubber, the film about a psychic serial killing tire, yet this film gets to tout the tagline “Inspired by true events”. Oh, what a baited statement that is.

Starring Keri Russell (Antlers) Alden Ehrenreich (Solo) the late, great Ray Liotta, and O’Shea Jackson Jr., this film is absurd and filled with absurdist humour. It is very much a comedy, with intense gory scenes. It is probably all the funnier if you watch it while high yourself!

Actor-turned-director Elizabeth Banks has had a spotty resume so far in the director’s chair, with the last three films being: the surreal Movie 43, Pitch Perfect 2, and the disastrous Charlie’s Angels remake no one remembers. So, Cocaine Bear is quite a deviation from these previous movies.

One thing can certainly be said for the movie: it doesn’t hold back. The studio seemingly knew what kind of film it should be, and that is an exceptionally gory one as well as being ridiculous. There are some creative kills in this movie! Some which wouldn’t go amiss in a regular slasher movie, all the while we have the killer be a very distracted and very high bear.
And like any good slasher movie, we have plenty of fodder for it. We have the obligatory opening couple who first encounter the bear in a pre-title sequence, but then we have a slew of other characters. A park ranger. A troublesome trio of teenagers. Two kids and their protective mother. A police chief. A wildlife preserver. Medics. And Drug dealers.

Still from Cocaine Bear
It is definitely not looking for the bare necessities…

All of them are suitably unlikeable in some capacity. Except for Keri Russell as the mother, who quickly redeems her earlier transgressions against her young daughter by striking out into the forest to rescue her and her friend Henry, and won’t let an insane bear stop her. We have Margo Martindale as an utterly incompetent park ranger with delusions of grandeur, two drug dealers Ehrenreich and Jackson Jr. who may or may not be seeing redemption.
To add to the film’s zany antics, is the quizzical casting of one Scott Seiss as Tom, one of the medics who joins the fray. Audiences may spend a great deal of time asking: “What do I recognize this guy from??” Even looking on IMDB won’t help you. Seiss is an extremely popular comedian on TikTok, making short videos often in the perspective of a blunt, disgruntled retail worker. He fits into the tone of Cocaine Bear perfectly; it would have been great to see more of him.

The film is wild, and you know if you are prepared for it or not by the title alone. But the film isn’t quite as funny as maybe it should be… or not quite as outrageous as it could have been. The writing often takes its time to go through some character melodrama, giving them “moments”, more than a horror film normally would. For a film about a bear on cocaine, we really didn’t come for a guy we don’t know grieving over an ex we never saw. It gets a laugh some times with the odd call-back joke, but we really want to see more blood flying or silly bears getting distracted by butterflies.

Also, the bear effects are… okay. The effects will definitely have aged poorly within the next five years, let’s say that.

Overall, go see Cocaine Bear for the clout in telling people “I saw Cocaine Bear and enjoyed it”. There isn’t much else going on, but it was a riot and surprisingly bloody.

3 out of 5 star

Additional Marshmallows: The scene of the little kids taking cocaine…? Did not see that one coming.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *