Movie Review: Cocaine Bear (2023)

Synopsis: When a drug smuggler's airplane dumps its shipment of cocaine over a Georgia forest before crashing, the drugs are ingested by a black bear who then goes on a murderous rampage at the same time multiple groups of people, ranging from drug dealers to a mom searching for her daughter, converge on the location.

Who's in it? The movie stars Keri Russell, Alden Ehrenreich, Ray Liotta, Christian Convery and Margo Martindale.


Review: I wasn't really sure what to think about this movie when I first saw trailers for it. It looked entertaining but I've never been a big fan of comedic films that make fun of real-life tragic events (one of the reasons why I'm not a big fan of The Town that Dreaded Sundown). However, we ended up watching it during our family movie night.

First of all, when it says it is based on a true story, I would probably put that in the same "true story" classification The Texas Chainsaw Massacre falls under. Basically, there once was a bear that ingested cocaine but that's pretty much the only piece of factual information in this film. Once that was confirmed via an internet search, I was able to enjoy what was a fun film.

I think the thing I liked best about this movie were the various reactions of the somewhat odd characters when they realized a normally docile black bear was addicted to drugs and willing to get violent to get her next score. Some of the moments, were a bit scary and a little sad, such as the couple discussing their wedding plans only to be the first to encounter the bear. Others, like the park ranger (Martindale) who did more harm than good with her pistol, were just funny. I think my biggest laugh came from a scene involving the bear passing out on top of one of them and everyone else trying to figure out if she was dead or just unconscious.

I also thought Liotta did a good job as what I would consider the lone bad guy in this film. The late actor's character brought a little bit of a wild card to the movie because he was desperate to regain possession of the drugs that were lost and a bit trigger happy as a result.

The movie also wasn't as predictable as I thought it would be. I usually hate watching thrillers that involve animals because they typically end in a creature, through no fault of its own, dying. That kind of ending was a bit unclear with this one though because the characters seemed to be more concerned with getting out of the woods than they were with preventing the bear from attacking again. And, I have to say, I loved the surprising way the movie did end. Enough, in fact, to hope there's a sequel.

Final Opinion: There might be a little too much bad language (especially from the kids) but the film exceeded my expectations, and I can understand why so many people are talking about it. It's a movie I enjoyed and would recommend.

My Grade: A

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