If you like dumb jokes, lots of gore and sub-par CGI, “Cocaine Bear” is the movie for you. Directed by Elizabeth Banks (I know right?), “Cocaine Bear” is a story of love, family and friendship. After one of drug dealer Syd’s (Ray Liotta) goons throws several pounds of cocaine out of an airplane and subsequently dies, Syd sends one of his lackeys, Daveed (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) and his son, Eddie (Alden Ehrenreich) into a national park to retrieve the drugs. At the same time, a mother goes after her daughter who ventures into the park with her friend to paint a waterfall, a couple of teenagers terrorize parkgoers and a park ranger hopes to find love. As each character travels through the national park, they are all faced with a bear that has eaten an obscene amount of cocaine and is on a murderous rampage.
I decided to see this movie after seeing the trailer and deciding it was so ridiculous that I had to watch it. The first 15 minutes of the movie were a bit confusing because so many characters and storylines were introduced all at once, and there were some scenes where I felt the suspense dragged on for too long, but beyond those two points I was honestly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Overall, the writing and acting were pretty good throughout the entire movie. The characters were fairly fleshed out despite the one hour and 35-minute run time and I was rooting for certain characters by the end. Additionally, I felt all of the actors performed very well, which I feel is a testament to not just their acting capabilities, but also the integrity of the script and directing. With a concept as ridiculous as “Cocaine Bear,” most would assume the acting would be bad as well, but I was pleasantly surprised when it was the opposite.
This movie definitely qualifies as a horror comedy and I think it does a great job of achieving this. All of the jokes land very well and even some aspects of the characterization lend to the humor. While the concept may not come across as horror initially, the suspense throughout the movie, as well as the graphic and violent deaths that many characters face as they fall victim to the bear left me genuinely frightened at times.
Ultimately, this movie was surprisingly delightful and scary. The writing, acting and directing were all done well and entertaining. While it was a bit confusing at the beginning with all of the characters, that is easily solved as some of them are killed by the bear as the movie progresses. Many of the storylines were fairly ridiculous, which added to the humor. And despite all of these violent and gory deaths, the ending was wholesome and fulfilling.