Cocaine Bear is a grisly story about a bear high as f*** on drugs. What can be more fun than that?
Cocaine Bear Synopsis
A black bear feasts some of the cocaine dumped into the Tennessee wilderness by a drug smuggler and found it to be quite the experience to die for. (Or rather, to kill for) Ravenous for more of the wicked stuff, the bear goes on a rampage, massacring anyone and anything that stands before it and the goodies. The same goes for drug kingpin Syd White, who will stop at nothing to recover the lost stash.
Man vs nature flicks were all the rage during the 70s and 80s, responsible for sooooooo many ridiculous urban myths back then too. For example, how alligators thrive in the sewers of every city. How there are undiscovered species of Asian piranhas with the ability to fly, etc.
As a kid and teen, I watched my fair share of these, and truth be told, I have no fond memories of any. Even as horror comedies, these flicks are often way more unnerving than haunted houses or supernatural slashers—after all, animals still exist around us even in cities. Moreover, after growing older, I realised a lot of these flicks were professionally and socially irresponsible.
By that, I’m of course referring to the paranoid encouraged by plots that sell themselves with the tag “inspired by true events.” There is indeed some real-life truth in most of these shows, but inevitably, everything is heavily exaggerated and sensationalised for dramatic effect. The end result then contributes to irrational fear and hatred of some species.
The summary: I dislike man vs nature movies. I would even say I hate them. And so I frowned in deep disapproval when I first saw the trailer for Cocaine Bear last December. (It seemed hilarious, though) The only reason I watched it yesterday was that I want to see how bad things still were. In other words, I was all ready to write a scathing review immediately after.
Well, I do have one complaint after watching. I felt the movie ought to have highlighted that the real Cocaine Bear didn’t kill anyone; poor thing died of OD. But other than that, I’ll be damned if I say I didn’t enjoy this gory, riotous horror comedy from start to end. Actually, this is easily the most enjoyable movie I’ve watched in 2023 so far. It’s likely to remain one of my top favourites for this year too.
The whole show is just so wicked, you see. So utterly unapologetic with the mayhem, bloodshed, and injustice. With the exception of two kids, everyone is fair kill for the oversized junkie. Whether any victim deserves grisly death, or not, is completely irrelevant.
Better yet, the kills are gruesome but watchable—no unbearable slaughter here. This was accomplished by keeping most of the actual killing off-camera and only showing the gory aftermath. As disappointing as this will sound in writing, I thought it was an adept way of maintaining the comedic tone of the story.
Dear junkie bear herself is a winner too, savagely menacing one moment, absurdly entertaining the next. (And the effects are good) On comedy, deftly written dialogue and characters inject humour at precisely the right moments. There is so much brutality going on. But yet everything is still so funny to sit through.
So funny. And so naughty.
Coming back to my dislike of the man vs nature genre, I feel Cocaine Bear takes a consistent and praiseworthy effort to highlight that the bear is also a victim. As in, it’s the victim of criminal greed and unscrupulousness.
This important message is sometimes made murky by the blood-soaked pandemonium. But it is not a message lost, even if it could have been more emphatic.
At different points, it’s clear too that the bear is the intended embodiment of the disastrous after-effects of drugs. Drugs like cocaine can’t maul you. But as everyone should know, they can ravage the human body like a crazed beast.
Compared to what they can do, an angry black bear is benign.
Check out my other snappy movie reviews.