WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR COCAINE BEAR (2023)
Going into seeing Cocaine Bear, 2023’s new horror-comedy, this was what I was expecting: Some cocaine gets lost in a forest, a bear finds said cocaine, gets high, and goes on a rampage chasing and killing people. What I got was exactly that – and more. Cocaine Bear exceeded my expectations, which admittedly were fairly low to begin with, but I couldn’t be happier with the results. Is Cocaine Bear a good movie? Is it anything profound, groundbreaking, or relatively new? No. But was it the most enjoyable form of a “bad movie?” Absolutely.
One way that Cocaine Bear exceeded my expectations was the way multiple characters and relationships were established without stunting the pace of the film. The two hikers; Henry, Dee Dee, and her mother; the park ranger and her associates; the sheriff; a couple of EMTS; a group of misfits; and a group of drug dealers and their kingpin. So. Many. Characters! I was able to meet dozens of people while watching this film, learn a bit about them, and sometimes even watch them die in a gruesome way. All in 95 minutes!
The fact that these characters and relationships were established all while maintaining the pace and suspense surrounding a murderous bear cracked out on cocaine was quite astonishing. I was expecting 95 minutes of constant chase scenes, or even 10 minutes of exposition followed by 85 minutes of chase scenes. The result was actually a good mixture of both, which I think allows gory moments to maintain their impact without the audience becoming desensitized. And boy, there were way more gory moments than I expected to see!
Overall, Cocaine Bear is a fun and entertaining watch. I wasn’t expecting it to be anything deep or introspective, so even though some may argue that it’s a “bad” movie, I think it serves its purpose well. It does what it’s supposed to do, which is to horrify and entertain. Check and check!
The one thing I can’t help but wonder is how “loosely based” is the true story that Cocaine Bear was supposedly inspired by? So, I did some digging. I obtained the following information from CNN:
In 1985, a 200lb black bear died from an overdose on cocaine, which was dropped into a forest in northern Georgia after a parachutist fell to his death with 77lbs of cocaine strapped to him.
Watch the full original 1985 news report here.