A simple thriller

A wild animal on copious amounts of stimulants does some damage


Photo Courtesy of IMDB

What does a bear on cocaine do? Nothing really, but in the movie, the bear on cocaine runs rampant in a forest. Stimulants have the effect of increasing energy and alertness, but overuse causes psychosis. Who wouldn’t want to see psycho bear goes on a killing streak?

Eddie Shi, Staff Reporter

*This movie is rated R, major spoilers below

The story of “Cocaine Bear” was loosely based on an event in 1985 in which a black bear overdosed on cocaine. And when I say loosely, I mean very loosely. The bear overdosed on the stimulant without killing anyone or causing much of a stir. However, in the movie, the cocaine bear went on a murder spree, killing multiple cast members in gruesome detail.

The movie was promoted widely, capturing people’s attention with its phenomenal trailer. When “Cocaine Bear” was released, I was among the first to experience its peculiar plotline. The story is linear and quite stock standard. Saying that it was a copied and pasted cliche story from a classic Hollywood movie wouldn’t be inaccurate if it weren’t for the layered stories. “Cocaine Bear” layers stories on top of one another. The multiple storylines add a level of complexity and cohesiveness to the film, which was one hundred percent needed.

There were two main storylines. The linear and boring one was about a mother looking for her runaway daughter who went into a forest to paint a waterfall. The mother is a nurse and finds her daughter’s school-ditching friend, Henry, in a tree. Henry was hiding from the cocaine-addicted mama bear after she took the daughter, Dee Dee. By the way, bears can climb trees. Mama bear begins scaling the tree slowly after Henry. The mother urges Henry to keep rising, but when Henry runs out of space to climb, the bear smells something familiar. Another man in a tree has cocaine residue from being chased earlier. The cocaine bear rapidly descends and scales the tree to the other man. The black bear then mauled his leg, tearing it completely off and dropping the man to his death.

The death was obviously overedited. Honestly, it was funny to see a man brutally mauled, landing in such a comedic way. I was surprised at the initial gore. The mother and Henry ran away and kept searching for Dee Dee. The two follow a trail left by Dee Dee. A strange painter saw the little girl and showed them the bear den. Inside the cave, they find cubs addicted to cocaine. After going further, they found Dee Dee. However, they hear the painter’s guide screaming. Mama bear has arrived.

Some dialogue from Henry and Dee Dee sounded forced and wholly scripted. There was a quality scene in which they tried cocaine by eating the powder. This storyline gets stale, and the forced kids swearing for comedy tropes does not work at all. Near the movie’s end, the lost kids’ group meets with the cocaine retrievers group.

Now an intriguing storyline is presented. A drug dealer is searching for lost cocaine after a plane dropped it off in the forest for pickup. He initially sends his henchman and son to retrieve the drugs before he goes in there himself. A cop shows up after a tip from a trucker. The henchman and son arrive first and are jumped by three delinquents who want money. Daveed, the henchman, is a hardened drug dealer who acts recklessly, and the son, Eddie, is an empathic person who lost his wife. In an entirely unforeseeable event, the delinquents have a bar of cocaine on them. Daveed takes one of them and forces him to take them to the rest.

After the drug group and one of the delinquents left, the two others went to the ranger’s house. The ranger is, I swear, just comic relief. She’s a cranky person who can’t move well. After running into the bear, she reloads her revolver and tells one of the delinquents to open the door. *Trigger warning for the remainder of the review. After a tense moment, the door opens and reveals the bear high on cocaine sitting like Winnie the Pooh. She pulls the trigger and blows the delinquent’s head off in the crossfire. It was so dark, yet the people in the theater burst out laughing, including my friends and me. Seeing his friend have to move the body to close the door was gruesome.

The bear then climbed on top of the house. I swear the movie turned into a horror movie for this scene. The tense atmosphere worsened when the dust fell from the chimney to the pit. The camera pans back to the door as the second delinquent gets grabbed through the door window, and the camera cuts. It was a jump scare; I jolted a bit and would not hear the end of it from my friends. But it was pretty scary in theaters, at least for someone not too good at horror. An ambulance arrives at the next scene. The two emergency responders step out. They went inside for a mild head injury and were greeted by a man shot in the head. The ranger was barely alive. The first responder went to her, and the second decided to open the door to a closet. Without going into too much detail, let’s say the body of the second delinquent was not in a piece, especially from the neck up. In the dark corner, we see a bloody bear with a crazed expression, and I can not imagine a terrifying scene.

They strapped the ranger to a chair and drove off after a brief confrontation with the drug bear. What bothered me was why the bear would murder, leave the ranger, mutilate a body, and then stand on someone threatening to do something but never does. Ah, she’s high on cocaine. A case ensues between a literal ambulance that can go fast and a running bear. Bears aren’t slow, but a literal ambulance should be able to outrun a bear. But movie logic. Quick summary: all three people in the ambulance, including the ranger, died.

Cut back to the third delinquent with the drug dealers; he references those as his best pals and says they were friends for life. I love irony. They arrive at a gazebo, a fancy structure like a pavilion, where the final delinquent says the cocaine is gone. The cop that followed the drug dealers appeared on top of the gazebo and held the three at gunpoint. Daveed goes for his gun and loses two fingers. A funny exchange happened, which ended with Eddie retrieving his finger after getting permission from the cop. The bear then shows up. High on cocaine, it lays down on Eddie. He calls it a girl because he found out in a certain way.

Out of nowhere, the cop gets shot by the drug dealer boss with a hunting rifle. The officer’s backup also arrives. In an entirely expected turn of events, she turned out to be a henchman. Wow! The delinquent escapes while the dying policeman gives the bear the rest of the cocaine as the bear runs off. The four drug associates followed the bear to its cave and ran into the runaway kids’ group. The mama bear shows up and causes everyone except the drug boss to jump into a waterfall for safety. The boss needed the cocaine for his clients, so he stayed behind to retrieve the drugs. After a false sense of security after shooting the bear twice and his henchman by accident once, he went for the bad. Stray bullets were the most real thing in this movie.

A bag of cocaine falls onto the cocaine bear, which makes her get up. She and her cubs brutally kill the boss in a horribly gruesome scene that I do not want to describe. The rest make it to safety, and the mother, a nurse, saves the henchman from the stray bullet. Happy ending. Everything was resolved. In a final scene, the delinquent threw a bag full of cocaine in the back of a truck carrying goats, only to get out and put it in the front. It evoked quite a laugh from the audience.

If you go in for a fun time, you’ll get just that. There are a few unbearable plot holes and questionable motives, but the movie is a blast. The bits of scuffed dialogue scattered about won’t have a bearing on the enjoyment of the film. Don’t be embarrassed to see this movie. The movie is beary fun, and I’ll give it a ⅘.