Film review: Cocaine Bear

What do you get when you cross a 500lb bear and a plane load of cocaine? A rampant 90 minute escapade in the black mountains of Georgia!

The title of this film is one of those rare instances where there is ZERO ambiguity about what to expect (Snakes on a Plane is another example). It is very loosely based on a 1985 incident where a drug trafficker lost several kilos of cocaine over a forest. This cocaine was then ingested by a local black bear. After ingesting 34kilos of cocaine the bear suffered numerous organ failures and died. The film takes this as a base but grows it into a drug fuelled rampage.

It does take a while to get going I will admit but when it does it is a great fun! It is classed as a horror/comedy which leans heavily into the comedy. Although we do get a couple of jump scares that I wasn’t expecting (I guess that is the definition of a jump scare). The main cast are quite a mixture from the late Ray Liotta, who puts in a great performance (in what was his last film) as the local drug dealer trying to recover the lost cocaine! To O’Shea Jackson Jr (mini Ice Cube for those wondering) playing Ray’s drug runner. There are several stories that bring all the characters together on the same path, which leads inevitably to the bear, who starts to pick them off one by one. Although it isn’t always the bear that gets the kill as some human errors cause unwanted fatalities!


Two of the main cast highlights are two children Dee Dee and Henry played by Brooklynn Prince and Christian Convery respectively. They both end up getting lost and chased by the bear with Dee Dee ‘bear napped?’ It then becomes a bear hunt for Dee Dee’s mum. The two kids steal the film, especially when they discover some cocaine left by the bear and try it themselves with funny effects! The innocence and light heartedness makes a lot of these scenes good fun! This does mean that when the mood changes and becomes tense and ‘scary’ it shows a breadth to their ability to do both scared and silly in a short period of time!

The film is, as director Elizabeth Banks puts it, a tribute to the bear, who through this film gets justice at last! The way they portray the bear as having the best time, even when it is going from eating some poor woman’s leg, then gets distracted immediately by a butterfly. Generally in films people root for the animal and this case I definitely agree. Blood and gore aside, it is a fun film and there is definitely a sense of compassion for the bear especially in the final act. The human elements almost get sidelined.

Overall I do recommend this film, there is humour, wit and a satisfying amount of jump scares and blood to keep the horror fans happy. Just don’t go in expecting it to be film of the year. The Main downside is the fairly long time for it to get going except the initial bear romp scene (a tribute to Jaws apparently) and when we don’t have the bear on screen the pace does slow dramatically. However being only 90 minutes long it is also in that rare category of film that is nice and short which is a rare sight now! It will undoubtedly come to a streaming service soon – which will probably suit it better. Although the rather charming and often 80’s soundtrack does justify good speakers. The film doesn’t need a cinema to get the full effect, so sit back at home and have a fun film night with some friends!






Author: Tom, Bath Store