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Release Date: 02/24/23 [Cinemas]
Genre: Comedy/Thriller

Studio: Universal Pictures

"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." 


I love when a movie doesn't even have to explain itself - Cocaine Bear isn’t a movie looking to pull a rug out from under you; it’s about an adult black bear in the Chattahoochee woods high on multiple kilos of cocaine, and basically nothing else. It’d be hard to imagine how the team behind this would fail to deliver - just give me 90 minutes of a bear going out of his damn mind in the woods causing gory havoc along the way. Thankfully, Cocaine Bear lives up to the high octane and gnarly thrills of its title promises, however, there are still places I wish the film really misses some opportunities in its scare factor.


Elizabeth Banks is the director at the helm of the grizzly horror-comedy, and it comes with a stacked cast; Aldren Ehrenreich, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Brooklyn PRince, Keri Russel, Christian Convery, Margot Martindale, and one of the final on screen performances from the late actor, Ray Liota. With everyone delivering fun and unique characters, I must admit, the plot feels quite messy and complicated, especially for such a short runtime. There are so many characters and so many plots to keep track of, and when the film‘s 90 minutes are up, it feels like some characters just vastly feel better incorporated than others.


Elizabeth Banks shows to be a really fun comedic director here - with Jimmy Warden’s script, she’s able to really heighten the absurdity of the whole film by really leaning into itself and seeing really just how much fun it can really have with the bear running through the woods just high out of its mind - how characters react and die in this situation too is also hilarious, absurd, and even at times a little scary. There are times though where I wish Cocaine Bear put more into its horror element; I genuinely wanted this movie to scare me, but it just really didn’t despite some morbid implications. I don’t fault it for focusing more on its comedy, but I also shouldn't be able to go to bed at night because I’m afraid the cocaine bear might get me.


Alas though, Cocaine Bear is quite a fun time. Though Warden’s plotting is messy, his dialogue and the character dynamics he sets up are quite funny. It was really fun watching these characters interact trying to escape this situation, and a lot of the set pieces are really fun. You’ll see many deaths that are gory, grizzly, over the top, and maybe a little mean spirited, but that’s just the path of the cocaine bear who is high off an unimaginable amount of cocaine and its wrath is immeasurable.

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