Cocaine Bear


D: Elizabeth Banks

Universal / Brownstone / Jurassic Party (Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Elizabeth Banks, Max Handelman, Brian Duffield & Aditya Sood)

US 🇺🇸 2023

95 mins


W: Jimmy Warden

DP: John Gulesarian

Ed: Joel Negron

Mus: Mark Mothersbaugh 

Keri Russell (Sari), Alden Ehrenreich (Eddie), O’Shea Jackson, Jr. (Daveed), Ray Liotta (Syd), Isaiah Whitlock, Jr. (Bob), Brooklynn Prince (Dee Dee), Christian Convery (Henry), Margo Martindale (Liz)

“Inspired by true events” it may be, but to say this film plays fast and loose with them could be the biggest understatement of 2023.

As far as the truth goes, a real American black bear fatally overdosed on cocaine hidden by drug smugglers in the Tennessee wilderness, earning the nicknames “Cocaine Bear”, “Cokey the Bear” and “Pablo Escobear”, but that probably wouldn’t make for a very interesting narrative, so the OTT level is cranked up to 11 so the eponymous grizzly can go on a drug-fuelled rampage, causing havoc in the Georgia woods where park rangers, criminals, tourists and a pair of teenagers try to keep themselves safe from the carnage.

You’re likely to know whether or not this is a film for you by the title alone, and if you’re looking for brainless entertainment, that’s exactly what you’re going to get.

It does have some things to enjoy, but this probably doesn’t outweigh all the flaws. As a horror, it’s just far too goofy and cartoonish, with a CGI bear that never looks truly convincing, while as a comedy, the novelty of a coked-up bear soon wears off long before the end credits.

Simplistic as movies come, it may still be one of the most iconic films of the year, even if it is nowhere near classic status. Personally, I think it works best when considered a parody of the 1970’s ‘human vs nature’ horror flicks  (Grizzly, etc.), but I wouldn’t subject myself to it again, because it would certainly wreck my brain.


Cocaine Bear
Cocaine Bear