‘Cocaine Bear’ Review: High on Drugs, Low on Thrills
Cocaine Bear, the title alone is enough to pique your interest, conjuring up images of a drug-fueled, fur-clad beast terrorizing a town. However, while the film’s premise is promising, the execution leaves something to be desired. In theory, a bear high on drugs sounds like the perfect recipe for an absurd and over-the-top horror-comedy, but sadly, it falls short of expectations. Instead of a wild ride, it’s more like a bumpy trip on a rusty old rollercoaster – you may get a few jolts and thrills along the way, but ultimately it’s a disappointing experience.
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The story is loosely based on a real-life incident where a black bear found and ate a significant amount of cocaine that was dropped from a plane in the Chattahoochee National Forest in Georgia in 1985. Instead of just dying, the bear in the movie goes on a killing spree that makes Jaws look like a guppy in comparison.
While the idea sounds good on paper, it is the execution that falters. Director Elizabeth Banks, who has an extensive career in Hollywood, falls short of bringing the movie’s full potential to life. Her comic timing, which is great as a performer, doesn’t translate to behind the camera, and the ensemble cast is not adequately utilized. The child actors’ scenes are so wooden they could double as the park rangers’ log cabin seen in the film, and the tone is all over the place. Was it supposed to be serious? Satirical? We may never know. Moreover, the script by Jimmy Warden is a mess. The dialogue is cringeworthy, and the characters are incredibly one-dimensional, meaning you’ll forget about them as soon as they’re off-screen.
i’m a bear of the people pic.twitter.com/6wAgDsG4sJ
— Cocaine Bear (@cocainebear) January 24, 2023
The special effects in Cocaine Bear are a mixed bag, leaving much to be desired. The bear, which is clearly computer-generated, fails to convince as a real threat and instead comes across as artificial and cartoonish. Similarly, the blood and gore is flagrantly excessive and exaggerated, that it borders on the comical rather than the horrifying. Despite the film’s lacklustre visual effects, the bear itself is the one saving grace of the movie. It bursts onto the screen to attack its victims, adding a much-needed jolt of excitement to an otherwise lifeless film. However, the movie’s muddled tone is its downfall. It can’t seem to decide whether it’s a horror-action film, a satire, or something else entirely, resulting in a disjointed and clumsily put-together project.
In the end, Cocaine Bear is a poorly executed campy horror-comedy that fails to deliver the goods. It’s a reminder that sometimes you get what you pay for, and in this case, we’re glad we saw this one for free. So unless you’re a diehard bear enthusiast (or cocaine aficionado), I’d recommend saving your money and waiting for this to hit a streaming service.
Cocaine Bear is in cinemas from February 23.