To acquire wisdom, one must observe

Kokayne Byear

“One of the things that disappointed me most about the movie was that despite the title there was no cocaine or bears. It was in fact, a French art flick which had been horribly mislabeled.” 


There is value in dumb fun. “Cocaine Bear” is exactly what it says on the tin, and that’s what makes it a damn good time. A brief synopsis: set in the ’80s in a Southern forest, the primary motivation for the cast is either to escape or get their hands on cocaine (or the cocaine dealers), and oh I almost forgot, it has a bear fueled by cocaine.


The eponymous bear is a goddamn furry Terminator; bursting through walls, outrunning speeding vehicles and ripping apart anyone who stands in the way of the pure white snow. While director Elizabeth Banks may have missed the opportunity for the Christmas movie of a lifetime (cocaine and snow go together like polar bears and Coke), the movie channels the spirit of the 1980s to the fullest.


The first two acts are mostly well written and paced. There’s a lot of funny dialogue and setup between our soon-to-be victims as they head toward Blood Mountain, the site of the cocaine drop. A lot of the strongest parts come off in interactions between “awkward couples”: an amorous ranger flirts with her clueless boss, a hapless drug dealer struggles to motivate his depressed friend, a headstrong kid and her hesitant best friend try cocaine for the first time. The action is well staged, and there’s a certain grim slapstick about many of the kills that reminds me of the better “Friday the 13th” iterations.


However, in the second act, you’ll find yourself screaming at the characters to just shoot the goddamn bear, but it mostly holds together. After the explosive conclusion of the second act with the ambulance scene, this movie does slow down. At a certain point, my roommate almost burst his bladder while watching the unexpectedly slow third act, as if the director realized she was running out of characters to kill. Additionally, as a whole, the film felt more vaguely Southern than actually rooted in place. 


I would rate this movie a 7/10—you get what you came for. I look forward to seeing future spinoffs in the extended cocaine-verse: “Meth Manatee,” “Fentanyl Fox,” and “Ketamine Shark.”


Fun fact: The taxidermied corpse of the “Cocaine Bear” resides in the Kentucky for Kentucky Fun Mall, where it can legally officiate weddings—the catch being, you and your fiance must believe it can marry you for it to count under Kentucky law. Unfortunately, dear reader, my girlfriend has declined to be married by the Bear, a case of flagrant speciesism of the highest degree.

Get Our Stories Sent To Your Inbox

Skip to content