While it may be loosely based on a true story, Elizabeth Banks’ crime comedy Cocaine Bear is slightly less predictable than you might imagine. Although the film certainly delivers on both halves of its title, the cocaine and the bear, it does so in a way that’s likely to delight and surprise audiences who are eager to escape what’s being churned out by the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
How does a bear wind up with cocaine anyway? And what happens to the hapless, helpless humans who cross its path? Digital Trends has the answers for you.
Warning: Spoilers below for the entirety of Cocaine Bear.
What is Cocaine Bear about?
While the movie delivers on a bear getting addicted to cocaine in its first few minutes, things are less straightforward than you might suspect. The cocaine in question comes from a plane that ditched it in the sky in 1985. The drugs belonged to a kingpin named Syd, who eventually sends Daveed, one of his enforcers, and his screw-up son Eddie to Georgia to recover it.
At the same time, a police detective named Bob and another cop named Reba begin their own search for the missing drugs, and a nurse named Sari loses her daughter Dee Dee in these very same woods. There are also some foreign vacationers, a pair of park rangers named Liz and Peter, a couple of EMTs, and a local bum named Stache thrown into the mix for good measure, creating a surprisingly large ensemble cast that the bear can begin to pick off one grisly (or grizzly) kill at a time.
The deaths come very early in the film, and a number of characters get maimed or dismembered before the movie’s climax. One of the foreign vacationers is killed early in the film, and both of the EMTs get maimed as well. Peter the park ranger also gets attacked, and Bob eventually gets killed as well, but not by the bear. Instead, he is shot by Syd after he winds up in a stand-off over the drugs.
How does Cocaine Bear end?
The film’s climax begins following Bob’s death, as Eddie and Daveed stand up to Syd, who is threatening to kill Reba as well. Reba doesn’t show up in the woods until the third act, and that’s also when you learn that she has actually been working with Syd. Eddie, who is mourning the loss of his wife, decides to step off after he begins to understand that there are children in the woods who need his help.
Dee Dee has been taken by the bear and brought back to her den to be with her cubs and the cocaine. Syd eventually tries to recover the cocaine, unable to let it go, and is maimed by the bear as a result. Daveed is nearly killed in the ensuing brawl, but Sari is able to save his life, and they are able to save Dee Dee and exit the woods, leaving both the cocaine and the bear behind.
Eddie resolves to become a better father, as Syd has been looking after his young son. Sari and Dee Dee, meanwhile, grow closer to one another as mother and daughter.
There are two post-credits stingers. The first reveals that a dog has been nibbling at Daveed’s fingers, which were shot off by Syd earlier in the film. The second reveals that Stache found a duffel bag filled with cocaine, and decided to keep it for himself. Plenty of people survived the bear, but who knows when she might strike again?