Cocaine Bear Home Release

Against all odds, a real-life event was stranger than fiction, and a wild bear consumed cocaine in the woods somewhere in Georgia in the 80s. What is not surprising is that literally everything after that short headline is a complete fabrication. This film has so much going for it, especially for fans of the genre. It’s set in the 80s, and it has gory kills and a huge bear on a cocaine-fueled rampage, you put all that one paper and it seems you have a foolproof concept that will sell tickets. Made even buzzier by the steller one-sheet poster that made its rounds on the internet featuring a bear and copious amounts of cocaine, it seemed like a sure-fire hit. So when the film falls flat, it would seem it’s a matter of execution.

Written by Jimmy Warden, his second produced script, and directed by Elizabeth Banks in her third feature. Boasting a stellar cast both young and old, Kerri Russell, Alden Ehrenreich, O’Shea Jackson jr, Ray Liotta, Isiah Whitlock jr, Brooklyn Prince, Margo Martindale, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Kristofer Hivju. Top to bottom that is an absolutely stacked cast but this movie just does not connect.

The story itself is as simple as its premise, cocaine gets dumped into the woods, and the bear eats cocaine. There are those looking for the drugs, those looking for the drug runners, and those who are caught in the middle. There are a few characters who really just don’t connect or feel real in any way, and in a story so heightened, you have to stay grounded if you don’t want to go into full-on comedy. The film feels like it’s trying to be an edgy horror film with gnarly kills and buckets of blood, but then you have these over-the-top characters that don’t feel grounded in any meaningful way and swing into the broad comedy, the tone is all over the place. When it’s focused on Kerri Russells and her plight to find her daughter, that feels real, the kinds might be a bit more precocious than usual, but that’s par for the course in films featuring kids. Unfortunately, when the film is focused on anyone else it becomes a goofy mess.

Between all the mayhem and severed appendages, there are a brief few moments that are fun, but it’s hard to find your way through the nonsense and brutality. Perhaps the biggest strike of all is that the fully CGI bear doesn’t look convincingly like a real bear at any point in the film either, if the film leaned into the zaniness more it could have looked like it was on purpose, but it goes out of its way to be cruel with its kills and have that edge, and the camp just does not match well. If you are being wooed by the title, you are warned, there is nothing worth watching.

2 out of 5

Special Features: There are several behind-the-scenes features on the physical release, altogether it’s less than 20 minutes of actual runtime, if you were wanting to get this release to see what went into the making of the film, there’s not much to dig into.

  • Alternate Ending 
  • Deleted & Extended Scenes
  • Gag Reel
  • All Roads Lead to Cokey: The Making of COCAINE BEAR 
  • UnBEARable Bloodbath: Dissecting the Kills 
  • Doing Lines – Cast and filmmakers read lines from the script
  • Feature Commentary with Director/Producer Elizabeth Banks and Producer Max Handelman

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