Cocaine Cougar Poster

Cocaine Cougar (2023) Review

Despite the name, Cocaine Cougar is not about the women down at the corner bar. It’s another microbudget attempt to cash in on Cocaine Bear, but unlike Cocaine Shark, this one actually involves cocaine. On the other hand, there is no such thing as a black cougar. But I suppose cocaine panther didn’t have the same ring to it.

After a title card tell us that this is based on true events and several minutes of the camera prowling through the woods, we get several minutes of credits intercut with stock footage of a lab where animals are being experimented on. This normally wouldn’t matter that much, except Cocaine Cougar runs for fifty minutes including credits so by the time we’re told a black cougar has escaped from the lab and follow some woman in a leopard fur coat wandering along a dirt path and talking about eating an air salad the film is almost a quarter over.

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We see some guy in an office telling someone on the other end of the phone that the cougar is high on coke before Andrea (Dawna Lee Heising, Bad President, Tales for the Campfire 3) shows up to “Give daddy a little sugar”. The news bulletin at the start of the film however didn’t mention the beast being drugged, and it’s not until it kills a drug courier that we see it get any Peruvian marching powder. At that point, the creature literally gets high, as the CGI cougar is so poorly composited into the scene that it looks like it’s floating above the ground.

Cocaine Cougar was written and directed by Dustin Ferguson (Rattlers 2, Zombi VIII: Urban Decay) who also plays a character named Dark, a reference to the Dark Infinity pseudonym he occasionally uses. And like most of his films, it’s pretty much a series of random people wandering around and getting killed by the big cat.

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And if you’re wondering why I’ve only named a couple of those characters, it’s because almost none of the character’s names are mentioned. Now combine that with a cast that is almost entirely composed of people nobody has heard of before and who probably bought their roles during Cocaine Cougar’s crowdfunding. The result is a lot of anonymous people showing up long enough to be killed off-screen before we move on to the next pay-to-play victim.

Eventually, Cocaine Cougar moves from the woods into the city, and the only things that change are that the red-tinted “cougar vision” POV shots go away, and we actually catch a few characters’ names. There’s Mr. McCallister (Erik Anthony Russo, Amityville in the Hood, Toilet Zombie Baby Strikes Back) who reports seeing the cougar, leading to a couple of “funny” conversations with someone who thinks he’s talking about a woman. And there’s Mrs. Lynch (Sophiah Koikas, Holy Hollywood, The Clinic) who his wife thinks is the woman.

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It’s also in Los Angeles, where the film has the closest thing it has to a highlight. There’s a reference to Franco Prosperi’s 1984 film The Wild Beasts, which features escaped zoo animals on PCP terrorizing a city. Cocaine Cougar pays homage to the scene where a big cat runs down a Volkswagon trying to escape from it. And in another nod to it, one of the film’s alternate posters is a rip-off of the one for Prosperi’s far superior film.

And then at the forty-minute mark Cocaine Cougar’s story abruptly ends, and we get ten minutes of credits including a rundown of the actors’ names under scenes from the film, but by that point, I was beyond caring who played which walking bag of Purina Cat Chow. Because after sitting through fifty minutes of this film, only thirty-five of which are what passes for a plot, I felt like I had been watching it for hours. This film does blow, but not in a good way.

Cocaine Cougar is available on Digital Platforms including Tubi.

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