Twisted: "Cocaine Bear": Monster animal in horror comedy

The film goes back to a true case: the story of an American black bear who died almost 40 years ago after allegedly consuming copious amounts of cocaine.

Twisted: "Cocaine Bear": Monster animal in horror comedy

The film goes back to a true case: the story of an American black bear who died almost 40 years ago after allegedly consuming copious amounts of cocaine.

The cocaine, it is said, was thrown out of a plane by a former narcotics officer and convicted smuggler, Andrew C. Thornton II. Thornton left this with a broken parachute, died. As the New York Times reported in 1985, the dead bear was later found in northern Georgia among 40 open plastic containers of cocaine.

Director Elizabeth Banks, who is also known as an actress ("The Hunger Games"), took on the incredible case in "Cocaine Bear". The result is a mixture of horror film and comedy, splatter film and animal film with 80s flair. In the center: a dangerous bear who hunts through the woods while drugged up. In between: teenagers, the police, tourists and of course criminals who want the goods.

Wacky, trashy and whimsical

No sooner have you made yourself comfortable in the cinema seat, no sooner have a few quite funny minutes passed, than a leg stump is thrown at you. You quickly think you are in a B-movie. You've been accused of leg parts that look more real in horror cinemas. But that doesn't matter. The trashy feel suits this whimsical film.

The leg belongs to a tourist who had previously marched through a wooded area in the state of Georgia. Her husband survived. The next to have to deal with the bear in full swing - which is in no time on any tree, no matter how high - are two truant kids.

Yes, in the horror genre, in the horror area, animals are already swarming: from great white sharks to gray werewolves, from monster spiders to "Frogs" to Hitchcock's "The Birds". Bears are less common, perhaps because they are usually allowed to appear as cozy creatures in the film.

The fact that "Cocaine Bear" shouldn't be taken too seriously is clearly underlined by this flick, which is quite entertaining at times. However, it cannot be completely hidden that it is not a matter of pure fantasy.

Wild ride through the 80s

There was a bear, and that time too: In the mid-1980s, the controversial "War on Drugs" raged in the USA, a series of measures within the framework of US drug policy. Nancy Reagan, then first lady and initiator of the anti-drug program "Just Say No", can be seen in an original recording. But you shouldn't expect a more serious examination of this political topic from "Cocaine Bear".

But the whole thing is a wonderfully colorful ride back to the 1980s: a world full of colorful tracksuits, heart-shaped lollipops for 5 cents, black, red and white Nike Air Jordans...

However, there are always moments when one wishes the real bear, which is probably exhibited today in a mall in Kentucky, a more dignified souvenir than this badly over-the-top film.

Who is instead dedicated to his coolest actor by far: Ray Liotta ("Goodfellas", "Cop Land"), who died in 2022. Liotta is one of all the drug dealers who also populate this unusual animal film: With yellow-tinted glasses, brown leather jacket, oversized hippie shirt collar, Liotta looks like he has just stepped out of a Tarantino or Coen film.

And yes, in the memorable scenes, "Cocaine Bear" is actually reminiscent of larger models of the type of "Pulp Fiction", a "Fargo".

Cocaine Bear, USA 2022, 95 Min., FSK ab 16, von Elizabeth Banks, mit Keri Russell, O'Shea Jackson, Jr., Christian Convery-Jennings, Ray Liotta

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