No, you don’t understand. “Cocaine Bear” is exactly what you expect it to be—but also so much more! After a ton of “elevated horror,” as the kids like to call it these days, it is extremely entertaining to watch films that know exactly how silly they are in the genre, like “M3gan” and now “Cocaine Bear.” Don’t get us wrong; this doesn’t mean the movie is only good for laughs; it is gruesome and will have you gasping and screaming from the gory details. The big difference between the aforementioned “M3gan” and this film is that the former was rated PG-13, but this one is R-rated, allowing it to go all out in its humor and gore. “Jurassic World Dominion” wishes it was this good.
Apex predators aside, there were some draggy bits of the film, where for long stretches, we didn’t see the bear at all, but the film makes up for it with its gore and shock value. Elizabeth Banks channels her “Pitch Perfect” humor at its finest, and no one could’ve done this better. We love that for her, but she also talked about wanting to work with characters who have amazing journeys in an interview, and that goes to show why this movie also has some fantastic arcs in it, at least for some. While it may seem absolutely impossible, “Cocaine Bear” is based on a true story (very loosely, might we add), but the big difference is what happens after the bear ingests the cocaine. If you haven’t seen it, go see it at your nearest theater first, and then get back to reading this explainer!
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?
It is the 1980s, and a man throws some duffel bags from an airplane into a forest. The man tries to jump off himself but dies. A young couple discusses their marriage and future children’s names in said forest. They reach the peak and, to their surprise, find a giant bear near them. They bring out the camera to have a closer look at the bear until they find something fishy about it. The bear seems to be deranged, and before they know it, it’s right on top of them. The couple runs for their lives until the man falls on his face. When the woman turns behind the bear, it attacks her and drags her into the abyss that is the forest until a leg gets thrown at the man’s face (his girlfriend’s of course). “Cocaine Bear” then follows a bunch of offbeat people, including and not limited to some teens, a cop, and a bunch of drug dealers, whose lives tangle up because of this “high bear,” and what follows is the work of nightmares.
Does Sari Find Her Daughter Dee Dee? What Happens To Syd And The Bear?
There are a few subplots in this film, so let’s break them down and see what happens to whom. First, we have Sari, who is in search of her daughter Dee Dee. Dee Dee wants to paint a waterfall in “Blood Mountain” and has taken her friend Henry to go do this on a school day. On the mum’s hunt, she meets the park ranger Liz, who is trying to sweet-talk animal rights activist Peter. The two of them decide to help Sari because they have to head up the mountains anyway. Liz hates the idea because the beautiful Sari is a huge distraction to Peter. In the meanwhile, Dee Dee and Henry find a box of Cocaine in the forest, which they try to “do” before getting bombarded by the “cocaine” bear.
Elsewhere, Syd (RIP Ray Liotta), a drug lord, meets up with Daveed, one of his minions, and tells him to go find the drugs lost in the forest worth $15 million. He also tells Daveed to take his son Eddi along because he wants him back in the family business. Eddi is terribly disheartened by the death of his wife. There is also a group of three teenagers causing havoc in the forest and stealing things from visitors. Bob, the detective, is called over to help with the mishaps in the forest, but he’s also trying to catch Syd.
Daveed takes one of the three teens with him and Eddie to go find the drugs after beating them to a pulp and being stabbed in the back himself. Right off the bat, when Sari and the rangers find Henry, the bear attacks them. Liz survives after being bitten and runs to get help. Unfortunately for Peter, who accidentally falls into some cocaine while trying to run, he gets brutally murdered by the bear and in its hunger for more cocaine. Sari and Henry manage to escape when this all goes down. Liz finds the other two boys, Ponytail and Vest, that Daveed left behind in the office while she fills up her gun to get the bear. A series of misinterpretations follows where the boys think Liz was attacked by Daveed, and Liz thinks the boys were attacked by the bear. Finally, Liz asks Ponytail to open the door so she can shoot at the bear, but when she does, she accidentally kills him rather than the bear (hilariously, might we add). The bear climbs onto the roof, and Vest and Liz try to figure out where it is. Unfortunately, they’re unable to do it, and the bear grabs Vest from the door. The ambulance then arrives with two medics. One of them heads inside to a second door in the office, wondering why there’s so much blood coming out of it, whereas the female medic checks on Liz, who is unable to speak. Liz manages to say, “bear right,” when the other medic is met with a decapitated body and a flying head. He is then face to face with said bear and slowly shuts the door. The bear manages to push it open, falling over the medic, who tries really hard to save himself. The chaos that ensues has got to be the absolute best part of the film, leading up to the brutal deaths of all three people.
Somewhere else, Stache (the third boy of the gang) manages to reach the gazebo where they had hidden the rest of the cocaine but can’t find the duffle bag. It turns out that Bob’s already found the bag. They have a standoff, and Bob shoots off two of Dave’s fingers before they realize the bear is right around the corner. They all stay still, and the bear ends up falling asleep atop Eddie, who’s pretending to be dead (know that this is difficult to write when you want to be laughing every two seconds). Daveed goes to check on the bear, which they now know is female, thanks to Eddie’s amazing biology skills, before she wakes up and lunges for more cocaine. Bob realizes what the bear wants and gives her more cocaine in order to save Daveed, Eddie, and Stache. Unfortunately, though, Syd has arrived in the building—sorry, mountains—and shoots at Bob. Syd is mad that Daveed had been taking so long, so he’d come to finish the job himself.
Sari and Henry end up finding a trail of paint left behind by Dee Dee, who’s hiding in a cave. At the end of the trail, they find Olaf, the man whose wife died at the beginning. He helps them with a torch but stays back because he thinks the “devil bear” is in the cave. Dee Dee is reunited with her friend and her mom. Along with Dee Dee, there are now “cocaine cubs” in the cave too, but they’re harmless. Next in line for a mauling is Olaf, who stayed behind when Sari and Henry entered the cave.
Sari, Dee Dee, and Henry try to escape through the cave as it gets dark outside, where their path is blocked by a waterfall. Eddie, Syd, and Daveed arrive at the same spot with one of the duffle bags. The cubs start to go after Syd’s duffle bag, but he won’t let it go. Eddie is tired of his father and tries to convince him to let the coke go. Syd tells Eddie that if he is unable to take the drugs back, the people he works with will come after his family. Finally, when Syd tells Eddie to shoot at the cubs, he refuses to do it. Little Henry yells some sensible things at Syd before finishing with, “I’m tired.” Sari and the kids jump off the cliff into the water for safety when Mama Bear arrives. Eddie and Daveed follow suit, leaving behind Syd, who’s trying to get his hands on another duffle bag hanging on a branch. When they jump, Syd shoots at the bear, accidentally hitting Daveed in the neck.
Finally, Syd and Cocaine Bear have a face-off. Syd shoots at her, and she falls off the ledge to her death. Syd manages to drop some cocaine while getting his hands on the other duffle, allowing it to reach the cocaine bear, who then sniffs it and wakes up miraculously (an absolute legend). He climbs back up, spitting out the bullet and grabbing the duffles from Syd, killing him and knocking him off the ledge to his final demise. Daveed is saved by Sari, who is a nurse, and they return to the safety of the outside world. Cocaine bear and her cubs live happily ever after in the mountains. Or do they?
Post-Credit Scene: Explained – Is ‘Cocaine Bear’ Set Up For A Sequel?
It’ll be hard not to think there’s something cooking when there are not just one but two whole post-credit scenes in the film. The first one sees Stache who got away when Bob sacrificed himself to save them, hitchhiking to New York with yet another duffle bag of cocaine. He is picked up by a truck with sheep in it. He first keeps the duffle with them, then realizes his mistake and takes it to the front of the truck with him. In the second scene, Bob’s dog, Rosette, whom he didn’t care for at first but later realized the value of just before dying, is handed over to Eddie. Eddie loves her immediately and takes her back to his son with Daveed. So what’s next?
Cocaine Bear is a movie that delivers on the man vs. wild narrative, but on the other side of things, it is also a parental drama where almost all characters, including the bear, are doing something or other for their parent or child. Although we think a sequel would be fantastic, it might not be as we expected. Cocaine Bear is still alive, and Stache has stolen some of the drugs, so keeping the “man wants power over everything” narrative alive, he could come back as a drug lord trying to capture the cocaine bear and her cubs for entertainment. Of course, the kid is one of the nicest characters in the film, but with the cocaine he has and his dead friends, anything could happen. So our final conclusion is- don’t do drugs, kids. With a kill count of 8, we just can’t get enough of “Cocaine Bear.”
“Cocaine Bear” is a 2023 horror comedy film directed by Elizabeth Banks.