Is Cocaine Bear worth the hype?

The beautiful black bear in Cocaine Bear is loveable and hateable at the same time. Very loosely based on a true story, the movie is sure to surprise you, and might even turn your stomach.

Directed by actor and director Elizabeth Banks, this unpredictable story is based on the events of a drug-run gone wrong, which occurred in 1985. During this real-life event, a 200-pound black bear in Georgia’s Chattahoochee forest found and ingested seventy-pounds of cocaine, which had been accidentally dropped from an airplane that was transporting paraphernalia during an underground drug operation. 

While the movie was based on this general event, the only aspect that was similar was the fact that the bear ingested the cocaine. After that, the story shifted dramatically. 

The movie opens with a couple in the forest—tourists from a different country. They were hiking in the Chattahoochee woods when they came across a black bear rubbing herself up against a tree. 

The couple expects the bear to demonstrate normal characteristics for a bear, but upon closer inspection they notice that there was something off with her. The camera pans, and there is a jumpscare where the bear gruesomely slaughters the woman tourist. This introduction sets the violent tone for the rest of the movie.

With a mixture of comedy and horror, this pattern of killing seemed normal for Cocaine Bear. There was no point in time where the bear wasn’t in the pursuit or in the act of killing someone. Throughout the movie, it kept ingesting cocaine in different amounts, leading it to be more and more violent. From car accidents to limbs being torn off, if you like gore, this movie might be for you. 

Cocaine Bear is an obvious gimmick, with its sub-par acting and over-the-top scenes—like young children eating cocaine and the detective character doing off-screen parkour. It made the award-winning film hard to take seriously, as each event was more difficult to believe than the last.

In addition to this, the side stories the movie portrayed seemed to add little to the main plot of the story. There were multiple side stories: a group of teenage delinquents were searching for the cocaine; the detective was searching for the cocaine; and there was a one-sided love story between the park ranger and the wildlife expert characters. 

These many side stories were unnecessary to the main point, although they were definitely entertaining. It became hard to keep up with the number of characters at times, which created a lack of connection to any of them. If there had been more character-building, the movie would have been more emotional.

Although there were some unbelievable aspects to the story, it was absolutely engaging. As the movie progressed, it got more and more interesting. While it was predictable—the bear simply kept killing—it was unknown how Cocaine Bear was going to act next. 

Cocaine Bear is entertaining, action-packed, and unbelievable. It’s the type of movie that could become a cult classic that viewers love for years to come.

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