'Cocaine Bear' by Elizabeth Banks Review: A fun flick about a cocaine addicted bear

in Movies & TV Shows2 months ago


I have noticed a bit of an uptick in more independent, creative films as of late. I'm really happy to see this, as Hollywood went through, and to some degree still is, its phase of relying on franchise films to make much of its money. While television series and streaming content has boomed, with risk and budgets becoming massively inflated, Hollywood has once again realised that it needs to fill the gap in these services and still provide something to theatres. I will admit that perhaps these films aren't all that new, and perhaps this trend has been going on for a while, without me really noticing until now having not really given them the attention they deserve. I went through a phase of only watching very specific films, until only recently I took the leap into these new releases.

Cocaine Bear was on my radar a few weeks ago, having seen it advertised and talked about around the Internet. I have even seen a few people here in the community writing their own reviews on the film. I was quite curious as to what it might be like, thinking of the Syfy films of yesteryear that would attempt to tell indie stories on various animal themed horrors. Sharknado being the most famous of them. Though, I never really gave those any attention, either. My initial expectations of Cocaine Bear were thin, assuming I'd find the film insufferable and incapable of finishing it. But the result was I found it quite fun over its short runtime. As it took an idea, had a little bit of fun with it, and then left. While far from perfect, it was a refreshing watch that took me out of Hollywood's current filmmaking structure and just gave me a fun, short movie viewing experience. With a few familiar faces to follow, but also very much independent from them, and not reliant on their presence at all to keep things engaging.

For this review I'll ensure there are no major spoilers, but as always: keep in mind that there may be a few minor ones before going forward.

Cocaine Bear


At first Cocaine Bear had me rolling my eyes with an introduction that claims it is based on a true story. A familiar trope of the horror genre that would claim everything and anything was based on a true story, no matter how farfetched it may seem. Though vagueness is the film's strength, either completely making it up or just not really saying what parts may be influenced by past events. For films, this is of course intentional to give the audience the idea of surprise and mystery, after all, what better way to engage with the audience than to present them with something that has them questioning something from the start to finish? Having them ultimately guess and decide what it was. While certainly cheesy, I overlooked it and enjoyed the initial sequence which had a pretty fun scene. A person with some sort of D.B. Cooper aesthetic: flying alone in a small plane and surrounded by bags of something. This character dancing around, prepared, charismatic and cool shortly before accidentally killing themselves. Leading to bags of cocaine being scattered across the nature reserve. From here the film slowly begins to introduce a wide range of characters. From children to drug dealers, the film carries with it a diverse range of chsaracters that end up in the same path, following a cocaine addicted black bear that had stumbled across the cocaine packages dropped, and unfortunately grown a strong addiction to it.

The way the film moves around with its various characters is quite creative. Ensuring we don't follow a specific perspective for too long. Bouncing around different characters with different agendas keeps the film fresh, too. With such a simple idea, it's very easy for it to grow boring and stale with its idea, but it teased the action slowly, and when it comes, it is done very well and with plenty of humour to it. Humour of which is something the film prides itself in, of course with its central theme it is hard to take it too seriously. Though the comedy comes and goes at decent pacing, and it's very much self-aware and with some shock factor to it. Focusing on the gory deaths of characters and the chaos of a drug fuelled bear going on a rampage in pursuit of more cocaine. I think it's important that the film emphasises exaggeration and silliness even in the action, still giving these moments weight but not taking things too seriously. And much of the humour isn't necessarily from dialogue either, but from the visuals.

These visuals are done very well, too! With quite a surprise in quality over the special effects and action sequences. The only times I noticed the film felt a little cheap was when it showed the bear, animated fine but looking slightly, well, not real. Though it was easy to overlook as much of the film focused on the characters and connecting their stories somehow. As expected, as drugs go missing, certain people start looking for them and the money they're likely to lose. Utilising very limited space throughout the film, much of it out in nature in some secluded space, it's surprising how the film managed to maintain its quality and pacing enough to maintain your attention. With a very short runtime, I didn't feel once that I was getting too bored, or that it was losing me at all. And that's with some rather simple cinematography and directing; everything is framed with some relative simplicity, and the film doesn't go out of its way to try to surprise and wow you with the visuals. That isn't to say that the film doesn't look good, but that it has a very traditional method of directing. Reminding me much of the straight to video style of filmmaking that was common a few decades ago. Though with so much going on throughout the film, I would argue that attention to introduce more artistic cinematography would have ruined the film, adding an unnecessary layer to something that doesn't need it, and works well without it.

With a wide range of characters, the most notable face featured is the kate Ray Liotta, a surprise to see and one of his last roles before his unfortunate death. Some may recognise him from Martin Scorseses' Goodfellas. There's a few other familiar faces here and there, but not ones you're likely to instantly recognise and pinpoint to a specific role. I liked this, given it allowed each character to feel more authentic and true to this world, rather than faces we have seen elsewhere. However, I did recognise one face that I happened to have unfortunately witnessed from the Internet. Some guy with a moustache that at once point was screaming about how you get should get vaccine; would've preferred to have not seen him to be quite honest. That said, everyone else was great.

Cocaine Bear is a very simple film. One that comes and goes quite quickly. A film with little to say but a few fun ideas to lightly explore. I think it touches upon everything enough and provides a fun experience, with a few weaknesses most aren't likely to care for or really notice. I can definitely recommend it over a relaxed weekend night. Sit down, unwind, turn your brain off to a rampaging bear fuelled by a cocaine addiction!

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I couldn't help laughing when I read that the story was based on true events, WTF, it's strange to imagine (although it's not impossible) a bear addicted to cocaine massacring people... I love that the viewer is left in doubt, XD. I've seen the Trailer: a bloody and weirdly funny satire. I think it'll be worth watching on my next weekend...I haven't seen comedies in a long time and maybe this movie will be a great reboot of my old taste for the comedy genre.

I actually wanted to mention that part, but I felt it was best to not given some of the fun really is not being able to tell if it's true or not, or just researching it after and falling down the rabbit hole of weird events buried by time!

Really happy to see more films like this appearing!

What a funny story, maybe in the movie the whole bear thing is taken seriously, but I was curious to see it just because it's a drugged bear causing chaos and horror, but what attracted me the most was the fact that you said it was based on real facts, I think I also got caught with that trick.

Muchachon so you liked the movie, i read that it was fun and the part of killing people i didnt spect that 😨😨, i understand that while i reading and surprise me, i thought the Bear have an adventure with two or three characters but the bear know a lot of characters while it searching cocaine 😅😅.

The name of the movie is the best and i am agree that in effects doesnt need more, the important thing is the bizarre idea of an addicted cocaine bear and only with that i want to see this movie

Note: i want to see a cat movie version of this movie, "This cat is addicted to Coccaine"....