Cocaine Bear: gore, terror, and laughs


Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

In the weeks leading up to Cocaine Bear’s release on Feb. 24 many on social media jokingly called for a “Cocaine Bear Sweep.” That being that the absurd film would sweep the box offices. So far the film has grossed over $80 million worldwide on a $30-35 million budget according to Box Office Mojo by IMDbPro.

William Fisher, Online Editor-In-Chief

  Disclaimer: Cocaine Bear is rated R by the MPAA for bloody violence and gore, drug content and language throughout.

  “Cocaine Bear” is one of those films with such a ridiculous and stupid premise that you’re shocked it was actually produced. The movie is set in 1985, and starts when a shipment of cocaine is dropped from a plane by a high drug smuggler into Chattahoochee–Oconee National Forest in Georgia and ingested by a 500 pound black bear, who subsequently becomes a terrifying beast. 

  “Over-the-top, gory, hilarious, thrilling,” said Will Gonzalez, senior, on the film.  

  The film sees a large but charming cast of characters go into the forest and end up encountering the vicious bear. 

  Two children (Brooklyn Prince and Christian Convery) skip school to go into the forest and are followed by one of their mothers (Keri Russell), who finds that her daughter has been taken by the bear.

  Additionally two drug dealers (O’Shea Jackson Jr. and Alden Ehrenreich) go in to retrieve the cocaine, and are later joined by the leader of the drug smuggling group, played by the late Ray Liotta, who passed away on May 26, 2022 and whom the film is dedicated to. 

  Law enforcement is also featured in the film, with two park rangers (Margo Martindale and Jesse Tyler Ferguson), and a police officer (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) investigating the drug smuggling. With the police officer being a favorite character of both Gonzalez and Junior Jack Salit, who also watched the film. 

  “Cocaine bear was an absolutely incredible and hilarious journey through the Chattahoochee mountains of Georgia. I loved every single joke, bit, and character within the film. The beautiful landscape contrasted with the insane gore is breathtaking to say the least. I would give this movie 11/10 if I could,” stated Salit. 

  The movie features light horror, intense gore, utter brutality, but is first and foremost a humorous film. The movie’s website describes it as a “Wild dark comedy.”

  Salit added “the movie’s comedic timing was impeccable. I would definitely consider it the key strength of the film.”

  The film runs for a brisk 1 hour and 35 minutes, keeping moving and compelling the whole time. The movie’s major fault lies in the ending, which feels short and anticlimactic compared to the rest of the insane film.

  “I think with how ridiculous the whole film was, the ending could have been a little crazier,” stated Gonzalez. 

  Cocaine Bear is also based on a true story, though in real life the black bear that ingested the dropped cocaine died, and did not turn into a raging and bloodthirsty monster as depicted in the film. 

  While the film is not a life changing masterpiece it is a hysterical, exciting, and utterly gory movie full of great characters which is worth a watch for anyone looking for a good time.

  The film was directed by Elizabeth Banks, written by Jimmy Warden, and was distributed by Universal Pictures. The film is still available to watch in theaters as well as rentable on Apple TV+ and Prime Video.  

  Gonzalez explained the utter ridiculousness but also the success of the movie, ”I thought the film was very well made and entertaining the whole way through. Sometimes the idea is better than the film itself with something like this, but in this case I think it worked out.”