A large black bear goes on a murderous rampage after ingesting bags of cocaine that were tossed from a plane.
The new horror comedy film, Cocaine Bear, is loosely based on a true story. When I say loosely, I mean that its basic premise of an 80s drug dealer dumping large quantities of cocaine out of a plane and a 175 pound black bear in northern Georgia finding and ingesting 75 pounds of the cocaine and consequently passing away from it. To anyone’s knowledge, the bear did not attack or hurt anyone and its body is currently on display in Lexington, Kentucky, at the Kentucky Fun Mall which dubbed the creature “Cocaine Bear”. The movie takes a lot of creative liberties filling in the gory and bloody events that transpired between the bear getting his first taste of cocaine and his inevitable stint in rehab (just kidding). The film takes place in 1985 and primarily follows four groups of characters who all eventually cross paths with the coked out ursine. The main plot involves middle schooler Dee Dee (Brooklynn Prince) who skips school with best friend Henry (Christian Convey) to hike into the forest and paint a nearby waterfall, she is pursued by her mother Sari (Keri Russell) who enlists the help of group number two, Ranger Liz (Margo Martindale) and her intended love interest, Peter (Jesse Tyler Ferguson Modern Family). Group three consists of three delinquent teens who have been robbing and attacking visitors to the forest but are ultimately stopped when they attempt to rob members of group four, the drug dealers whose drugs were tossed out of that plane. Daveed (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) was tasked by drug lord Syd (Ray Liotta) to take his son Eddie (Aiden Ehrenreich) who is morning his wife’s death from cancer and collect the drugs. Eddie has quit “the family business” and Syd is hoping this will bring him back into the fold. Syd is being tracked by Detective Bob (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) and Officer Reba (Hannah Hoekstra). The bear doesn’t really care about any of this, having become extremely addicted to cocaine, he attacks and mauls anyone and everyone that he thinks may have more of the powder.
I was Leary going into this film as I don’t normally like movies where animals are the bad guys. But I was pleasantly surprised by the well written and witty script and the overall humorous tone of the film. Director, Elizabeth Banks, does a wonderful job intertwining the separate plot lines into a very smooth and cohesive movie with some very clever segues between scenes that helps to tie the different plot lines together. The actors all do a decent job with the absurdity of the plot creating both caricature and realistic characters mixing in some great comic moments with the horror. Everyone is basically likeable with the exception of Syd, but then, we aren’t supposed to like him, which does make it hard to watch some of the characters untimely demises as you kind of want everyone to make it out alive, but the levity of the movie mitigates these feelings.
The film’s pacing was quick and the plot had a good rhythm with a storyline that seamlessly tied all of the plot lines together. The production value in this film was surprisingly high and a large part of the $30-35 million budget went to New Zealand based Weta FX to create the CGI bear. This was money well spent as the bear felt and looked real, adding to the cohesiveness of the film and elevating it past a standard “Angry Animal” flick. At the time of this article, the movie has grossed around $66.5 million about doubling its initial cost. Possibly due to its success and hype, The Asylum studios is producing Attack of the Meth Gator, a “mockbuster” of this film.
Although the critical response has been mixed, I really enjoyed this film and thought it was both well written with some great quirky characters and well directed.
Cocaine Bear: Teddy Needs Rehab!
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Acting - 8/108/10
- Music - 8/108/10
- Production - 9/109/10
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