Since Grizzly II’s actual release was never gonna cut it (because reality), this year we have a new entry for the killer bear subgenre, with Cocaine Bear, directed by Elizabeth Banks (Pitch Perfect 2, 2019’s Charlies Angels), and a masterclass in marketing by the virtue of “its exactly what you think it is and what it says on the tin”.
Even more unbelievable is that there’s an actual true life story of the titular “coked plantigrade” serving as a loose base for the plot, involving an american black bear that in december 1985 ingested a duffel bag full of cocaine, one of the many dropped via airplane by a drug smuggler that then dies out of some horrendous clumsiness.
In reality the bear didn’t kill anyone and actually just OD’d, and the poor thing now (allegedly) actually resides as a stuffed exhibit in a mall in Kentucky, which is far crueler than any of the kills done by the “Cocaine bear” in the movie, which eats some of the angel dust and then goes on a rampage through a National Forest, starting with a couple of hikers then various people that are either connected to the drug cartel or were unlucky enough to be there at the worst time possible.
And it’s a b-movie style blast of horror comedy fun, with some really graphic sequences (involving disembowling and one of the most hilarious deaths i’ve seen on film in some time), high production values, and lots of dumbass but actually endearing, funny characters (love the “pop art thug gang”). Maybe a bit too many and the final act could have a better pacing, but honestly the movie does live up to its marketing, being silly, steeped in dark comedy, exactly as long it needs to be, and very, very entertaining.