Cocaine Bear is a cracking good, goofy time

By Chris Anderson, Guest Writer

Combine one of the largest mammalian predators in North America and hundreds of pounds of cocaine and out comes one of the deadliest living things to ever exist.

Cocaine Bear emerges from the true story of a failed drug drop of Andrew Thornton in September of 1985 and the later discovery of the body of a black bear that died of a cocaine overdose in the Chattahoochee National Forest.

The film takes creative liberty with the story and twists it into a pseudo-slasher film with plenty of gore to match. The narrative uses multiple perspectives, the first of which follows Sari, Dee Dee’s mother, and Henry, a friend of Dee Dee’s, while they search for Dee Dee, who has gone missing after encountering “Cocaine Bear.”

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The other major perspective follows Daveed, a drug dealer who works under infamous kingpin Syd White, and Syd’s son Eddie while they try to track down the missing cocaine from Thornton’s failed drug drop. There are a few other perspectives throughout the film, but they are generally utilized to keep track of the bear’s actions.

During each group’s hunts, they experience character growth from the trials caused by Cocaine Bear hunting them, and while I certainly would not call this a “feel-good film,” seeing their growth lightened the mood of the film.

That is not to say that the film is overall grim or dark, either. It certainly does not try to take itself seriously at all, with plenty of jokes and otherwise utterly ridiculous occurrences, this movie is nigh impossible to take seriously.  

From the cold-open until the last moments of the credits, Cocaine Bear is a rollercoaster that never stops. The violence is plentiful, and the comedy even more so.

Newswire photo by Chris Anderson

The taxidermied version of the real “cocaine bear” was on display at the Kentucky Theatre in Lexington during Cocaine Bear’s opening weekend. 

The victims of Cocaine Bear start with a newly-engaged couple that is out hiking, and the list grows throughout the entire film. The deaths are almost all unique in the levels of violence and horror they inflict not only upon the victims and witnesses, but also the audience. This is consistently counteracted by the transition to a new scene where the events to follow and things said will bring an effective relief to what would certainly be an otherwise extremely dark film.

Therefore, when recommending this film, the only warning that I must give is that it is certainly worthy of its R rating. With more than enough gore and language to match it, this film is definitely not one for the whole family, a lesson which was quickly learned by the father who brought his two young children — one of whom couldn’t even read — to the theater I was in.

As far as critiques go, I have none. While this movie is not one that I would call “good” in the same way that movies such as Home Alone, Rocky or Titanic that are generally considered classics and good movies, I definitely don’t consider it bad. Personally, it fits into a little category of movies that are just so ridiculous and strange that I can’t help but love them. It is akin to films like Velocipastor, Sharknado and Willy’s Wonderland, from the less-than-grand special effects to the seemingly out of place recognizable actors, this movie perfectly encapsulates the genre of “movies I can’t help but love.”