“Cocaine Bear” leaves audiences in high spirits


Photo courtesy of Anne Foote

Senior Anne Foote went to see “Cocaine Bear” at the Angelika Film Center on opening weekend with seniors Amelia Fox, Ania Francis, Anastasiia Goi, and Annalise Thaler. Both Foote and senior Catherine Browne professed that “Cocaine Bear” was a great film to watch with friends.

Inspired by true events, “Cocaine Bear” has taken audiences by storm with its ludicrous mix of over-the-top humor and b-film horror.

“I was really interested to see how a bear would act on cocaine, and I wanted to see if the plot was good,” said senior Amelia Fox. “The viewing experience was immaculate, the movie kept my attention the whole time.”

Built on a concept both terrifying and absurd, the drug-induced rampage of an American black bear, “Cocaine Bear” went viral soon after its first trailer was released. While the film’s general marketing got a lot of people talking online, the final product has been just as captivating.

“The CGI for the bear was pretty good, which I was surprised by,” said senior Annalise Thaler. “I was also surprised [by] how star-studded the cast was; like, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Alden Ehrenreich, and Ray Liotta were not [actors] I expected for this type of movie. As such, the acting was quite enjoyable.”

Built on an ensemble cast that the bear picks off one by one, “Cocaine Bear” packs a heavy number of subplots and characters into a ninety-minute runtime. While the comedic backing allows most of the cast to play off each other fairly well, the film’s plot is not without a few lapses in logic.

“Personally, I have never tried cocaine, so I cannot tell you [how] accurate [the film] is,” said Thaler. “I will say that the bear and the children took too much cocaine that they should have overdosed in the first 30 minutes of the film.”

More often than not, the comedic stylings allow viewers to be sucked into the bear’s ridiculous world and overlook the occasional plot holes. Along with the genre influences, the time period of the original story also adds to the film’s atmosphere. “Cocaine Bear” has a synth-heavy score and leans into an ‘80s atmosphere with numerous references and callbacks.

“I was really struck by how well the film managed to capture the 80s b-movie horror vibe while having the obvious quality that comes with being a full-budget film,” said senior Catherine Browne. “I was particularly surprised by the soundtrack. It was not stellar by any means, but it fit the film very well.”

With R-rated films falling out of favor compared to more profitable and marketable PG-13 flicks, “Cocaine Bear” stands as a return to simpler times. Unapologetic and unreserved, the film is a low-budget, standalone story not concerned with marketability or future sequel potential. Granted, director Elizabeth Banks has discussed potential sequel ideas in interviews, but for now, both the production team and audiences are content to bask in the film’s success.

“I would definitely recommend “Cocaine Bear” to anyone, it’s my absolute favorite movie,” said Fox. “I would love to see other movies by this director because I really like how the movie is written.”