Elizabeth Bank´s directorial debut movie , ¨Cocaine Bear¨, is a thrilling hour and a half of campy 80’s slasher with a bear on hard drugs

Elizabeth Bank´s “Cocaine Bear” is a campy and experimental thriller that depicts the true story of a bear that does cocaine. The movie shines through it being able to embrace its absurdity and provide a stable plot alongside a raging bear causing a massacre while on cocaine.

cocaine bear movie poster
The main poster for Cocaine Bear depicting a bear outline made from cocaine (IMDb )

The film is based on a true event that happened in 1985, where after a drug smuggler dumped almost 900 pounds of cocaine from a plane into a forest below, a bear would be found dead four months later after consuming a 15 million dollar meal of cocaine. While the bear unfortunately passed due to parts of the body shutting down from the amount of cocaine consumed, the film imagines a scenario in which that bear was able to unleash a coked fuel rampage.

From all aspects of the movie, you can tell Bank´s had a vision on what she wanted cocaine bear to be.  Banks incorporates her own styles throughout the entire film while fitting an 80’s thriller film aesthetic to it. This is heard throughout the soundtrack for the film , but Banks also experiments with action , horror, and comedy scenes throughout it.

The movie surprisingly has multiple storylines between many characters that all eventually overlap into one storyline against the raged out bear. This includes stories about drug henchmen retrieving back the lost cocaine, a group of random teams with a forest patrol officer and animal whisperer, and a mom pursuing her daughter and her friend lost in the forest.

One concern I went into the film with that ended up happening is like with other man v beast movies such as the Godzilla franchise, Beast, and Cloverfield , the movies promise that you ́d be consistently watching chaos from the animal in the movie but end up watching more of the human characters than you wanted. In Cocaine bear multiple scenes show the bear about to cause havoc but cut off before we get to see the bear do anything. It takes a while between the beginning to around the middle of the film to get to see the bear do anything and any scene with the bear is spread far from one another where the human storylines don´t provide the same entertainment than a bear on cocaine would.

While this may not make the movie appealing to some, I still think that it can be enjoyed by many as it manages to do a lot within its runtime, and how it still provides scenes that will satisfy viewers.