‘Cocaine Bear’ high-horror hilarity
Of all the heroines in cinema history, I never thought I’d see the likes of Cocaine Bear gracing the big screen. Still, if there’s any tale that deserves telling it’s this one. It’s based on the true story of a lost silo of cocaine that dropped from the sky as a byproduct of the rampant drug trade of the 1980s. Instead of flooding the streets of urban communities, this heap of narcotics became the afternoon snack of a black bear.
It’s with this factual backdrop that Cocaine Bear takes some much appreciated liberties. After all, the concept of a wild animal consuming a behaviour-altering substance invokes some imaginative imagery. The film wastes no time bringing those visuals to life, presenting the first of many frenzied bear attacks in less than 10 minutes.
Cocaine Bear takes its ridiculous premise and gives it a welcome B-movie treatment. The savagery depicted by the man-eater gives Cocaine Bear a looming presence, even when she’s out of sight. While the film firmly identifies as horror, it nevertheless leans heavily into humour. Rightly, director Elizabeth Banks knows the nature of the film is too wild to be taken seriously, but still manages to pull off genuine suspense.
Still it’s not enough for audiences to have a rampaging bear high on cocaine. To deliver maximum mayhem, the beast must be fed. To that end, the movie supplies the crowd with a good number of characters that are pegged as bear food within moments of their entrance. While their temporary existence might make it unnecessary, the victims are all given adequate backstories. From the widower with nothing to live for, to the kids who each ingest a spoonful of cocaine just to prove they’re like the dangerous criminals they hear about on the news.
Cocaine Bear is a title that should tell you all you need to know, and the film itself doesn’t go much deeper than what you expect. The characters give way to the movie’s commentary on the war on drugs in the 1980s, and seems to make a statement of how drugs can infiltrate and destroy a community. At the same time, the film revels in violence and destruction with reckless abandon, so it’s best to take it at face value for the entertaining creature feature it is.
Rating: Half Price