March 29, 2023

Cocaine Bear is the newest film from Elizabeth Banks.

Inspired by the 1985 true story of a drug runner’s plane crash, which led to missing cocaine and ultimately, an insanely high black bear, the film follows several characters.


The film starts off showing how the cocaine is lost in the forest, with a high drug runner slamming his head before making landfall, scattering the bags of illicit drugs. The drugs make its way to the infamous black bear, who attacks a couple hiking in the forest.

We then are introduced to Sari (Keri Russell), a single mother to a tween daughter, Dee Dee (Brooklyn Prince). Wanting to paint a waterfall, Dee Dee decides to skip school with her friend Henry (Christian Convery). Discovering that the two have skipped school, Sari meets with Ranger Liz (Margo Martindale) who is busy preparing herself for her crush, Peter (Jesse Tyler Ferguson).

Simultaneously, we have a detective, Bob (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) trying to capture the criminal tied to the cocaine, Dentwood (Ray Liotta). Dentwood sends his son Eddie (Alden Ehrenreich) and Daveed (O’Sheah Jackson Jr.) to retrieve the lost drugs. Once they make their way to the forest, the two run into a goofy group of teenage boys, having one (Aaron Holliday) lead them to the cocaine.


This film almost verges towards horror, with surprising jump scares and lots of gore. I noticed several people had to leave the theater after some of the kills, so if you’re squeamish, beware. A lot of B horror inspired kills and practical effects that are a clear homage to the era.


While each group has their motivations to explore the forest, they each encounter the vicious and insanely high black bear. There are several kills as a result of each characters’ trek, at both the hands of the bear and the characters. I was really surprised by the goriness and violence in the film, but the shock definitely added to the fun of the film.

Although I didn’t crack up like a lot of the crowd did, I still had fun. This is a film you have to watch with a crowd. Hearing everyone’s reactions really adds to the experience; there was even a man stomping with excitement.

Overall, I would give Cocaine Bear a 4/5.

Cocaine Bear releases February 24.

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