For Smokey

There’s no reason to hide what Cocaine Bear is. The title alone says what the audience expects, and the content itself plays in that same realm of self-awareness. Like Snakes on a Plane, the latter fueled by a viral internet frenzy, Universal takes the approach here too – aim for whole absurdity, and wallow in the complete lack of cultural importance.

Yes, the bear does cocaine. Lots of it. It kills people. Mauls them, actually, and in some cases, the people off themselves. Cocaine Bear doesn’t have characters so much as it has cartoon archetypes, played to an overdone degree, because the very idea doesn’t allow the material to be underdone.

Anything and everything great about Cocaine Bear happens because of or with the bear

Steeped in Nixon/Reagan drug war, Cocaine Bear includes the familiar PSAs from the era: “This is your brain on drugs,” as a skillet fries eggs. Cocaine Bear is akin to a 90-minute version of those, lampooning the attempt to turn kids away from crack, yet the result is loopy enough to fall into Reefer Madness territory. It’s hilarious, asinine, and every bit the bonkers escapade it deserves to be.

Anything and everything great about Cocaine Bear happens because of or with the bear. A ludicrous link between the characters and their family issues tries to bring emotional weight to the ridiculous violence, but soon a detached leg bonks someone on the head or their head splinters in full camera view. Family is about as crucial to Cocaine Bear as it is to Fast & Furious.

Pure escapism, Cocaine Bear has pieces from the ‘70s animal attack movie genre, environmental awareness at its simplest, and a drug-fueled cinematic euphoria that, when at its peak, never misses a chance to brutally entertain. The more gruesome, the better, and Cocaine Bear might be the only movie where someone roots for the dog to meet an unfair end, just because. After all, the goal by the end is to make viewers empathetic to a bear mauling a dozen or so people, and yes, it probably works. Making the villains so inhumanely despicable and the victims too idiotic to see their next day is nothing if not guilty joy.


Rather routine in its digital cinematography, locations makes the most of the HD presentation. It’s gorgeous at times, but unspectacular. Clarity stays high, free from almost all noise, allowing the detail to swell. Close-ups and wide shots handle themselves equally well, if becoming muddy when at the most complex.

Firm, thick contrast helps lift the dimensionality inherent in the image. It’s consistent, performing well in keeping Cocaine Bear lively. This is balanced by bright contrast, and that goes for both sunlight outdoors and lamps inside.

Cocaine Bear gives primary colors definite pop. Flesh tones sport natural warmth and the forest greenery shows great density.


The 7.1 soundstage keeps up with the action, giving the forest appropriate ambiance and bear attacks push proper low-end weight. Separation isn’t consistent, but as needed, the channels stretch wide, and the additional surrounds play a key role where possible.

Gunshots pack a wallop, and close-up bear attacks create a sizable jolt in the low-end. Cocaine Bear’s overall range satisfies, but this is on the lower budget end all around.


Things begin with a (terrible) alternate ending, then a two-minute gag reel. Deleted scenes follow, and a nine-minute making of after that. An eight-minute look at the kills is a blast. Actors read their lines from the script in a fun bit, then Elizabeth Banks joins producer Max Handelman for a commentary.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Cocaine Bear
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Every ounce as bonkers as the concept itself, Cocaine Bear’s hilariously brutal comedy is worth the downtime between kills.

User Review
2.33 (3 votes)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 42 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots grabbed directly from the Blu-ray:

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