Dark comedies are a genre marrying the unconventional with comedy, creating eccentric and hilarious films. Dark, absurd comedies push the boundaries of humor into the realm of the bizarre, offering a fresh and often daring perspective on the lighter side of life's darkest moments.
These dark comedies masterfully navigate the balance between darkness and laughter by holding up a mirror to our daily lives.
1. In Bruges (2008)
Two hitmen find themselves in the picturesque but peculiar Belgian city of Bruges after a job gone awry. As they await further instructions from their ruthless boss, their contrasting personalities collide, leading to a blend of dark humor, self-discovery, and unexpected consequences.
2. Seven Psychopaths (2012)
A struggling screenwriter inadvertently becomes entangled in a convoluted web of criminal activity when his eccentric friends kidnap a gangster's beloved Shih Tzu. As they dodge danger and navigate the absurdities of their lives, the line between fiction and reality blurs in this meta-exploration of creativity and chaos.
3. Death at a Funeral (2007)
Chaos unfolds at a British family funeral when a series of comically disastrous events occur, ranging from a misplaced body to accidental hallucinogenic drug consumption. The grieving process takes a sharp comedic turn as long-buried secrets and mishaps come to light.
4. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Amid a zombie apocalypse, Shaun, a slacker with no real direction in life, must rise to the occasion to save his friends, family, and ex-girlfriend. This horror-comedy masterpiece, which parodies George A. Romero's iconic Dawn of the Dead, offers a blend of clever satire, witty banter, and absurdity.
5. At World's End (2013)
A group of friends reunites to recreate an epic pub crawl from their youth, only to find themselves unwittingly caught in a sci-fi conspiracy involving an alien invasion. This hilariously bizarre journey takes them from one surreal encounter to another as they confront their past and an uncertain future.
6. Death to Smoochy (2002)
A darkly comedic exploration of the cutthroat world of children's television, the film follows the rivalry between a well-meaning, rainbow-loving host and his morally questionable replacement. As they compete for the spotlight, their clashes lead to hilariously absurd and often violent outcomes.
7. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
This eccentric family dramedy follows the dysfunctional lives of the Tenenbaum siblings, each of whom is a former child prodigy dealing with their own issues. When their estranged father fakes a terminal illness to reunite the family, a mixture of deadpan humor and poignant moments ensue.
8. Brazil (1985)
Set in a dystopian future where bureaucracy reigns supreme, a mild-mannered bureaucrat gets caught in a nightmarish series of events after a typo results in an innocent man's wrongful arrest and death. The film's darkly comedic and surreal visuals provide a satirical commentary on the dehumanizing nature of bureaucracy.
9. The Banshees of Inisherin (2022)
Set on a secluded island along Ireland's coast, The Banshees of Inisherin follows Pádraic, who is left heartbroken when his lifelong friend Colm abruptly severs their bond. Determined to mend their fractured relationship, Pádraic joins forces with his sister and a troubled local resident.
Their quest to heal the rift takes unexpected turns, but Colm's unwavering stance forces a dramatic ultimatum, propelling the story towards astonishing and unforeseen outcomes. What begins as an uproarious dark comedy develops into an existential Shakespearean tragedy. Banshees will make you laugh and cry.
10. Death Becomes Her (1992)
A tale of eternal rivalry, this dark comedy explores the consequences of two women's pursuit of eternal youth. After discovering a potion that grants them immortality, the women engage in a series of hilarious and over-the-top antics as they grapple with their newfound immortal status.
11. Fargo (1996)
When a bungled kidnapping scheme in a small Minnesota town goes awry, a pregnant police chief finds herself investigating a trail of crime and deception. The juxtaposition of the Midwest's mild manners with increasingly absurd and violent events creates a dark, funny, and suspenseful narrative.
12. Jennifer's Body (2009)
A cheerleader's life turns supernatural after a botched ritual transforms her into a flesh-eating demon. With her best friend by her side, they navigate the challenges of high school and satiate Jennifer's newfound hunger in this horror-comedy with a twist.
Diablo Cody's writing never fails to impress me. The film satirizes female sexuality, celebrity worship, toxic friendships, and horror tropes. It's a shame this movie was mismarketed as a horror flick when it's profoundly funny and clever.
13. Election (1999)
A high school teacher's seemingly mundane election for student council spirals into a vicious battle of egos as she faces off against a popular but conniving student. The film humorously dissects the ambition and ruthless tactics that can arise even in the most trivial contests.
14. What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
A mockumentary-style film follows a group of centuries-old vampires navigating modern life in New Zealand. From roommate disagreements to hunting victims, the vampires' unique challenges provide ample comedic fodder in this absurd and witty film.
15. JOJO Rabbit (2019)
Set during World War II, the film tells the story of a young German boy whose imaginary friend is a whimsical version of Adolf Hitler. When he discovers his mother is hiding a Jewish girl, his worldview is challenged through a series of hilarious but heartwarming encounters.
While this movie begins as a hysterical satire, it morphs into a devastatingly bittersweet drama with some tear-jerking tragedies intermixed. This is not one to put on if you're looking only for laughs and not any cries.
16. After Hours (1985)
A man's attempts to have a simple night out in New York City spiral into a nightmarish odyssey of absurd and surreal encounters. As his efforts to return home become increasingly chaotic, the film highlights the unpredictability of urban life and the bizarre characters that inhabit it.
17. Beau Is Afraid (2022)
After his mother's unexpected passing, an introverted and anxiety-prone man is forced to confront his deepest fears. Venturing on an extraordinary and Kafkaesque journey, he navigates a series of surreal challenges and bizarre encounters in his quest to return home.
This three-hour film was one of the wildest rides I've ever experienced—scenes of pure terror that drag out in such ludicrous, uncompromising ways that it becomes hilarious. You likely won't know how to feel once it ends, but it's well worth the watch for its laudable and daring plot.
18. Snatch (2000)
In the London criminal underworld, a series of interconnected characters become embroiled in a chaotic chain of events centered around a stolen diamond. Fast-paced dialogue, quirky characters, and dark humor create a wild ride of comedic mishaps and criminal escapades.
19. Very Bad Things (1998)
A bachelor party in Las Vegas takes a deadly turn, leading a group of friends to make a series of increasingly disastrous decisions as they try to cover up their actions. This pitch-black comedy explores the absurd lengths people will go to protect themselves and their secrets.
20. Burn After Reading (2008)
When a disc containing classified CIA information ends up in the hands of two dim-witted gym employees, a series of comically convoluted events unfold. The film weaves a tale of espionage, misunderstandings, and absurdity as the characters stumble through a world of secrets.
21. Sorry To Bother You (2018)
A telemarketer's life takes a surreal turn when he discovers the key to success lies in using his “white voice.” As he climbs the corporate ladder, he becomes entangled in a bizarre world of greed, exploitation, and increasingly absurd scenarios.
22. The Menu (2022)
The Menu centers around a youthful couple's visit to an exclusive, secluded island restaurant. There, they are drawn into a world of culinary excellence as the renowned chef presents an extravagant tasting menu, showcasing the heights of gastronomic artistry. However, the night takes some shocking turns as there turns out to be more on the menu than they bargained for.
23. The Nice Guys (2016)
Set in 1970s Los Angeles, two mismatched private investigators are brought together to solve the case of a missing girl and the seemingly unrelated death of an adult film star. As they navigate a labyrinthine mystery of corruption, conspiracy, and eccentric characters, their humorous interactions and absurd predicaments create an unforgettable blend of dark comedy and detective noir.