Cocaine Bear Review | Offering Guilty Pleasure Entertainment Through B-Movie Craft

A drug peddler dumps cocaine in a forest in order to escape, and a bear consumes that cocaine and goes on a violent spree. This is a thought that will most probably get a green signal from any studio simply because of the wildness of the basic idea. Based on an actual incident that happened in 1985, this Elizabeth Banks movie is not at all trying to be a serious film. In fact, with excessive cliches and B Movie sensibility, at best, this movie offers you the guilty pleasure of enjoying something gross.

So in 1985, a drug peddler named Andrew C. Thornton II threw all his cocaine packages from a plane into a forest to escape. But the guy couldn’t make it as his parachute never worked. In the meantime, the cocaine he dumped in the woods was taken by a black bear. Two kids were attacked by the bear. Their mother and the ranger in that area went inside the forest to find them. In the meantime, the drug mafia also sent their men to find the stuff. The events that unfold in that area are what we witness in Cocaine Bear.

As I said, it is the premise that sells the movie. When you hear the one-liner thought, the immediate visual is something like a Revenant. But for Elizabeth Banks, the cocaine part gave a different creative kick. She and her writer Jimmy Warden created a B Movie tribute with all the classic ingredients you see in such a creation. It’s almost like being predictable was their aim, and honestly, it was entertaining to some extent. While the story arch is very much in the familiar zone, the scene improvisations make you laugh hard while doing a facepalm.

As the typical screaming-yet-caring mother, Keri Russell was fine in her role. Isiah Whitlock Jr. as detective Bob was fun to watch, especially in that gazebo sequence. O’Shea Jackson Jr. and Alden Ehrenreich, as the seekers from the drug mafia, were hilarious in their roles, along with Aaron Holliday, whose expressions left me in splits in the scene where the bear falls down over Eddie. Ray Liotta, Margo Martindale, and Sweet Tooth fame Christian Convery were the other prominent names in the cast.

The filmmaking sensibility of this movie has deliberately tried to keep it in that tacky space. The gory visuals of people dying in the most brutal ways make the audience laugh. There were moments in this film where I wondered whether this movie was part of the Scary Movie franchise. Because I found myself enjoying mediocrity, and it felt like they wanted the audience to enjoy the film exactly that way. The shootout sequence inside the Ranger Station had gruesome visuals, but the audience laughed. The gazebo sequence where the bear becomes unconscious was super stupid but still entertaining. The CGI-generated bear was not at all great, but the prosthetic makeup of wounds and dead bodies was terrific.

Cocaine Bear is surprisingly entertaining despite being a blend of familiar tropes and a treatment that almost made it look like a spoof. Set in the 80s, the movie tries to emulate what we saw in the wildlife horror films released during that phase. Cocaine Bear was a movie where my mind was like, “It’s bad, but screw it; it’s fun!”

Final Thoughts

Cocaine Bear is surprisingly entertaining despite being a blend of familiar tropes and a treatment that almost made it look like a spoof.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.