‘Cocaine Bear’ is exactly what it sounds like

Lines, Hikers and Bears … oh my.


AP Photos

Actor O’Shea Jackson Jr. and Director Elizabeth Banks on the red carpet during the World Premier of “Cocaine Bear.”

By Anika Haley, Lifestyle Writer

My expectations for “Cocaine Bear” were not high but that black bear sure was.

I went into “Cocaine Bear” thinking it would be a bad survivalist movie that takes itself far too seriously. Then, in the end, the viewer would learn everything could have been prevented if the characters didn’t poke the literal bear. It would have tried to live up to the greatness of “Jaws” but fail miserably like so many other naturalist horror movies.

However, once the movie started, director Elizabeth Banks immediately let me know I was wrong. They opened up the movie with a fact about how black bears are not territorial animals – which they accredited to Wikipedia.

“Cocaine Bear” acknowledged its absurdities and amplified them by embedding comedy in horror scenes, like when the bear tears off a hiker’s cocaine-covered leg and does a line off of it.

The movie, released in theaters on Feb. 24, was loosely inspired by an actual bear that ingested 75 lbs. of cocaine. “Loosely,” because the bear in this movie goes on a murderous rampage, killing off characters in hilariously gruesome ways, which it didn’t do in real life. Thus, “Cocaine Bear” claims its place in the comedy horror genre that’s beginning to get more popular with releases of movies like “M3GAN” and “Bodies Bodies Bodies.”

The eccentric cast of characters includes a group of teenagers who mug people at knifepoint, drug dealers trying to recover $14 million worth of cocaine, two teenagers who skipped school and a park ranger with a gun. They all find each other within the woods of Chattahoochee National Forest, where they desperately try to escape dying at the hands of Pablo Escobear.

The best scene of the movie by far is when the bear falls asleep on top of Eddie (Alden Ehrenreich), one of the drug dealers, and delivers muffled lines from under the bear. In order to get her off, a police officer named Bob (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) cuts open a brick of cocaine, showering it onto the bear. What’s funnier is the line that is delivered while watching Cocaine Bear be covered in the white powder: “It’s like cocaine Christmas.”

With all its gimmicks – they make a reference to the “this is your brain on drugs” anti-drug advertisement – and stunts, “Cocaine Bear” kept me laughing throughout the 95-minute runtime. 

However, the movie can be so in-your-face with these antics that it may serve as a deterrent for some viewers.

It is easy to understand how this movie may be terrible to some viewers and great to others as the premise itself is very hit-or-miss. The comedy blended in with scenes of people getting mauled by a bear can easily be unappealing if someone is looking for a good horror movie. The plot is also very predictable as to who is going to die and survive. Nothing but the jumpscares and one-liners catch you by surprise.

“Cocaine Bear” certainly is not worth going to the theaters to view but will be a great movie night with friends when it gets released on Peacock for streaming.

There is talk of another apex predator taking its turn in the rotation, the next potential movie being “Cocaine Shark.”