Cocaine Bear
A quite entertaining film, despite the ridiculous premise

Cocaine Bear

Release Date: February 24, 2023
Runtime: 01:35
An oddball group of cops, criminals, tourists and teens converge on a Georgia forest where a huge black bear goes on a murderous rampage after unintentionally ingesting cocaine.

A bear goes on a rampage in a National Park after ingesting cocaine in . Multiple duffle bags containing cocaine are dumped out of a plane into the Chattahoochee National Forest right before the drug runner dies while trying to skydive. St. Louis drug lord Sydney White () sends his song Eddie () along with Daveed (O'Shea Jackson Jr.) to recover the cocaine before police detective Bob () gets to it first. Meanwhile, nurse Sari () enters the forest to locate her daughter Dee Dee (Christian Convery) and her friend Henry (Christian Convery), only to discover that a black bear has ingested the cocaine and has gone on a bloodthirsty rampage.

Cocaine Bear Synopsis

Cocaine Bear is a horror-comedy directed by Elizabeth Banks (Pitch Perfect 2, Charlie's Angels) and produced by Phil Lord and Chris Miller (21 Jump Street). The film is written by Jimmy Warden (The Babysitter: Killer Queen) and is very loosely based on the 1985 story of Andrew Carter Thornton II, very briefly played in the film by Matthew Rhys, who died in a skydiving accident after dumping 800 pounds of cocaine over Blood Mountain in Georgia, where a bear accidentally ingested some and died of an overdose.

Cocaine Bear builds upon the true story and now makes it so that the bear goes on a cocaine-fueled rampage, killing anyone who has come in contact with the cocaine. While there is a loose narrative involving Keri Russell playing a nurse trying to find her missing daughter, the is an ensemble piece as various individuals in the National Park come across the bear, many of whom end up being graphically mauled. This includes the trigger-happy Park Ranger Liz (Margo Martindale) and her wildlife inspector colleague Peter (Jesse Tyler Ferguson), as well as a trio of delinquent teenagers known as The Duchamps (Aaron Holliday, J.B. Moore, and Leo Hanna).

My Thoughts on Cocaine Bear

Like Snakes on a Plane back in 2006, Cocaine Bear is a film that can be sold on its title alone. With her third directorial effort, actor-turned-filmmaker Elizabeth Banks is skilled in making a pretty gory homage to the creatures-attack films of the 1970s and 1980s. The film also does an excellent job of balancing out comedy and horror, with many of the film's gore gags also being quite hilarious.

Cocaine Bear has an eclectic cast that includes Keri Russell (Antlers, Dark Skies), Alden Ehrenreich (Solo: A Star Wars Story, Hail, Caesar!), O'Shea Jackson Jr. (Straight Outta Compton), Isiah Whitlock Jr. (The Wire), Margo Martindale (August: Osage County), and Kristofer Hivju (Game of Thrones). The film also features a dedication to Ray Liotta, who passed away last year shortly after finishing work on the film. While there are still a few posthumous roles for Liotta yet to be released, Cocaine Bear was the final film he finished while still alive.

Despite having a ridiculous title chosen because the filmmakers couldn't think of anything else, Cocaine Bear is an incredibly entertaining film that is much more insane than expected. The film also demonstrates how talented Elizabeth Banks is as a filmmaker, with this arguably being the first of her directorial efforts that indeed shows off her skills.

Trailer for Cocaine Bear

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.