COCAINE BEAR is a new horror comedy based on an incredible-but-true story. Or rather, the starting point is a true story. The story in this movie is pure speculation but of the most entertaining kind. A crazy and very bloody story. Read our full Cocaine Bear movie review here!

COCAINE BEAR is a new horror comedy out in movie theaters. It’s a pretty crazy story, but that also means it’s perfect as a comedy that evolves into a violent (and very bloody) horror film.

It’s a crazy genre hybrid that features torn limbs and brains flying through the air. Often landing on others. In this story, we meet police officers chasing violent criminals who themselves are on the hunt for their missing cocaine. And then there are the unlucky tourists plus two pre-teens skipping school to go on a little adventure. It’s just the wrong place at the wrong time.

All of them end up in scary and obviously unpleasant confrontations with each other and a 500-pound bear that has massive amounts of cocaine in its system. It goes completely berserk in its pursuit of more of the white powder. Well, except when a butterfly distracts it for a few seconds.

Read our full Cocaine Bear review below. The film is out in US theaters from February 24, 2023.

Based on a true story

Cocaine Bear is directly inspired by an incredible and crazy – but quite true – story from 1985. The true story is that a plane did crash and it was being flown by drug smugglers. It’s also true that one of the smugglers was found dead with drugs on him and that there were packages of cocaine scattered across the Chattahoochee National Forest in the state of Georgia.

Finally, it’s a true story that a bear was found dead with 16 kilos of cocaine in its stomach. The bear may have been alive for five minutes after consuming the large amount of cocaine. During these minutes, it was probably the most dangerous Apex predator imaginable. However, after a few minutes, the bear simply died of the immense overdose.

But what if the bear didn’t die? What if it survived and went on a rampage instead to become an insanely dangerous predator?! This is the idea that resulted in this film.

As stated clearly at the beginning of Cocaine Bear, this type of bear does not usually attack humans. As an animal lover, I was happy to see this highlighted.

But, of course, a bear on coke is not a “normal” bear. Still, it’s a really awesome part of this movie that the bear is not the biggest villain. After all, it just found something and ate it. The real villains are the people responsible for cocaine being in the forest in the first place. Well, okay, you’ll also meet some seriously dumb petty criminals that pick a fight with the wrong guy.

The biggest gangster in Cocaine Bear is played by the now-deceased Ray Liotta, to whom the film is also dedicated.

Cocaine Bear – Review | Horror-comedy

Go along with the premise and have fun with this movie!

If you’re going to have fun watching Cocaine Bear, it requires that you go along with the premise that this is a horror-comedy. Or a comedy in a horror movie, if you will. In any case, it’s crazy and violent and not very realistic, but the characters in the movie are not exactly unrealistic. From adventurous tourists (and kids) to criminals, the types we see definitely do exist.

Still, this is not Jaws, and it certainly doesn’t try to be either. However, there is a touch of something familiar in this horror-comedy. It takes place in the 1980s and is inspired by Steven Spielberg [who also directed Jaws] films from the 1980s.

I felt an intense 1980s nostalgia while watching this movie at a press screening.

So, when I read afterward that this was exactly what the director was going for, it obviously hit that vibe perfectly. There’s a bit of E.T. meets The Meg when you watch Cocaine Bear. You know, 80s pre-teens and cozy nostalgic humor colliding with crazy monster horror.

Sounds both crazy and awesome, right? Well, that’s Cocaine Bear for ya!

Watch Cocaine Bear in theaters!

Elizabeth Banks directed this movie, which is her third feature film after Pitch Perfect 2 (2015) and Charlie’s Angels (2019). I read her statement that comedy is always her starting point, and this obviously serves as the perfect starting point for making a horror comedy.

Especially because she never holds back when it comes to visual craziness to highlight both comedy and horror! And, make no mistake, this movie is very violent and bloody.

Again, because I love animals, I was amazed that they completely avoided using wild animals in this movie. The bear is 100% CGI in Cocaine Bear. And it works perfectly – especially because it needs to be realistic visually but also serve its horror and comedy purpose. All of which is much easier with CGI than with a wild animal.

The script comes from Jimmy Warden, who is also great at genre hybrids, where humor and very bloody scenes must gel into one smooth movie-watching experience. He also wrote The Babysitter: Killer Queen. The actors in Cocaine Bear clearly enjoy being in it, which makes it all the better for us viewers.

The two children in the film are played by Brooklyn Prince (Settlers) and Christian Convery (Sweet Tooth), with Keri Russell (Antlers) playing the former’s mother. Other key roles include Margo Martindale (The Watcher), Alden Ehrenreich (Solo: A Star Wars Story), O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Godzilla 2: King of the Monsters), Kristofer Hivju (Game of Thrones), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family), Isiah Whitlock Jr. (I Care a Lot) and Aaron Holliday (Sharp Objects).

Cocaine Bear is the kind of movie where you decide whether it’s a good experience. If you like the trailer, you can also safely expect that you will have fun watching the movie itself. If you expect something other than what is clearly presented in the trailer, then you can expect disappointment.

I had a blast watching it, and while it may be quickly forgotten, it’s definitely a movie I could watch again.

Cocaine Bear is out in US theaters on February 24, 2023.


Genre: Dark Comedy
Director: Elizabeth Banks
Screenplay: Jimmy Warden
Cast: Keri Russell, O’Shea Jackson, Jr., Christian Convery-Jennings, Alden Ehrenreich, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Brooklynn Prince, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Kristofer Hivju, Hannah Hoekstra, Aaron Holliday, with Margo Martindale and Ray Liotta


Inspired by the 1985 true story of a drug runner’s plane crash, missing cocaine, and the black bear that ate it, this wild dark comedy finds an oddball group of cops, criminals, tourists and teens converging in a Georgia forest where a 500- pound apex predator has ingested a staggering amount of cocaine and gone on a coke-fueled rampage for more blow … and blood.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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