Cocaine Bear: the addictive ingredients that make it February's wildest movie

If Ronseal made movies, then Cocaine Bear would be top of the list. It's a movie that does exactly what it says on the tin: there's a rampaging carnivore off its head on cocaine that causes a group of local oddballs to band together to fight it. Who could possibly resist that premise?

It's undoubtedly the craziest movie to grace the inside of a Cineworld screen this February, so here's what you need to know about it.


1. It's about a bear. That does cocaine

It's all there in the title. The movie is (very loosely) inspired by a true story from the 1980s when an American black bear ingested hundreds of grams of cocaine that had been dropped by a drug runner while flying over Georgia. Tragically, the animal died, and it's now stuffed and on display in a museum in Lexington, Kentucky.

This now provides the basis for an outrageous black comedy (it's rated 15 by the BBFC for gore and violence) in which said bear not only does cocaine but subsequently goes on a drug-fuelled rampage in the local area. (Fortunately, during the real-life event, no one was killed.)


2. It's directed by Pitch Perfect's Elizabeth Banks

Yes, that's right, the creative force behind the largely wholesome a cappella comedy series Pitch Perfect is now marshalling a coke-addled bear with a taste for human flesh. It might seem out of character for Banks, who also directed the recent Charlie's Angels reboot, but then she has dabbled in twisted and gruesome comedy films before.

Let's not forget, in 2006, she starred in director James Gunn's grungy body-horror-killer-space-slug-satire Slither, which may be where she picked up a taste for the macabre.


3. It's one of Ray Liotta's final films

Goodfellas icon Liotta passed away in 2022, but he was able to get Cocaine Bear under his belt prior to his tragic death. The famously intense actor looks set to go full 80s-themed wacky in his role as Syd Dentwood, the drug runner whose product leads to the rise of the cocaine bear.


4. It's set in America but was shot in Ireland

Cocaine Bear has a distinctly Deep South, hickory-flavoured twang (as if the comedically overripe accents in the trailer didn't make that obvious). However, the movie was actually filmed in County Wicklow, Ireland, between August and October 2021. You'd be hard-pressed to tell from the trailer – that's surely a credit to Banks and the set designers. 

A truly Irish-set story would likely involve a sheep getting plastered on Guinness, right?


5. The cast is a mash-up of Star Wars and The Wire

Young Han Solo himself, Alden Ehrenreich, pairs with fellow Star Wars alumnus Keri Russell (she played Zorii Bliss in The Rise of Skywalker), although this isn't a story set in a galaxy far, far away. Nope, all of the craziness is distinctly Earthbound.

Meanwhile, The Wire veteran Isiah Whitlock Jr. also pops up, grabbing one of the best lines. Upon the bear ingesting an entire packet of the white stuff, Whitlock deadpans: "Let's see what kinda effect that has on him." If his signature catchphrase from The Wire (you know the one we mean) doesn't turn up then we'll feel distinctly cheated.


6. It's got us thinking of our own follow-up movie titles

Crack Yak. Gak Yak. Ant-Phetamine. Meth Mouse. Blow Badger. Horse Horse. Rock Rooster. We'd be happy with any and all of these winging their way toward the big screen in the not-too-distant future. Such is the mind-altering impact of the Cocaine Bear.


Make a date with Cocaine Bear when it blazes onto Cineworld screens on February 24th.