There is this thing about dark comedy genre which sets it far apart from other genres of movies. The idea of presenting a taboo subject under the influence of comedy is something which these best dark comedies are trying to portray and many times it can lead to some controversies too.
Dark Comedy often refers to as black comedy which is undoubtedly one of the most sensitive types of movie theme. If you wish to watch such movies which are a great mix of sensitive issues and comedy then I think I can help you out in it perfectly.
Top 10 Dark Comedies
Hollywood is filled with the iconic movies which belong to the category of best dark comedies but of course, you cannot watch them all in one go. So, I picked 10 amazing options for you where you can find the portrayal of plenty of subjects which are generally less talked about but surely important to be heard.
1. Bad Santa (2003)
Rotten Tomatoes: 78% IMDb: 7.1/10
I guess the name of this movie is enough to kind of make a perception that it surely belongs to the genre of best dark comedies. This is basically a Christmas black comedy crime movie whose entire theme is quite relatable to Christmas including the characters too.
So, the story is about Willie T. Soke and his dwarf assistant Marcus Skidmore who are professional thieves and have done various robberies together.
They follow the same ritual every year where Willie dresses up as department store Santa Clause and Marcus as an elf which helps them in robbing the shopping mall at night. For all this Marcus’s wife Lois also helps them who become their getaway driver.
However, over the time because of Willie’s alcohol issues, the relationship between him and Marcus becomes sore which also affects their lives too. The movie focuses individually on Marcus’ work ethics and Willie’s sex addiction and alcoholism and shows that where it takes to both of them. The movie is one of the best dark comedies with quite a good ratings too.
2. What We Do In the Shadows (2014)
Rotten Tomatoes: 96% IMDb: 7.6/10
As interesting as its name, What We Do In the Shadows turn out to be quite an interesting mockumentary too. This one is surely a part of this list of best dark comedies, but it also contains the genres of horror and satires too.
What We Do In the Shadows focuses on a group of four vampires namely Viago, Petyr, Vladislav and Deacon who live together in Wellington.
The story is kind of funny where a documentary crew follows the lives of these vampires who are served by a human Jackie. Jackie brings prey for them and some other stuff too. As these vampires need to stay protected from the sunlight they do not go around during the daytime.
Things change when Jackie’s boyfriend Nick is invited by Jackie as a prey, but because of sudden attack he turn into a vampire too and causes one of the vampire’s death. Now, they all would have to deal with him anyhow.
3. Heathers (1988)
Rotten Tomatoes: 95% IMDb: 7.3/10
Belonging to the late 80s, it is good to know that cinema used to be quite versatile at that time. This black comedy from that time focuses on the life of four teenager girls and interestingly three of them are named Heather in a clique in Ohio High School.
The movie is, of course, a cult one and achieved so many awards and critical acclaims too. In fact, its box office collection is also just superb.
Talking about the fourth girl here then her name is Veronica Sawyer who joins this Clique with the other three Heathers in it. Veronica joins them because they are the most popular girls in the school but when they start making a joke of others, she starts questioning her decision again.
The movie has its own different element and style which of course supersedes other best dark comedies mentioned here. The movie starts turning more into a grey shade as it proceeds further with the addition of love interest of Veronica. But now it is to be seen that how Veronica is turning into what she hated of becoming once.
4. Burn after Reading (2008)
Rotten Tomatoes: 79% IMDb: 7/10
People who are Brad Pitt’s diehard fan would surely remember this movie by heart. In fact, the movie has an amazing star cast of George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Richard Jenkins etc. in the other lead and interesting roles.
The thing about dark comedy movies is that they have their own share of controversies but their stories are always different and more straightforward which gives the writer a chance to open up on things many people prefer to remains quite about.
Burn After Reading is one hell of a ride which starts with the character of Osbourne Cox who faces demotion at his job of CIA Analyst and decides to write a memoire. But things turn ugly when his wife Katie who is having an affair decides to divorce him over it and copies all his financial documents including the memoir.
Now, the story revolves around the memoir getting into the hands of multiple people and here Osbourne’s increasing temperamental problems day by day. With a lot to take in, the movie is surely one of the best dark comedies you will ever get to watch.
5. Seven Psychopaths (2012)
Rotten Tomatoes: 82% IMDb: 7.2/10
Seven Psychopaths is a combination of the genres of dark comedy along with crime drama. So, the movie starts from introducing its main character who is Marty. Marty is a struggling writer who is trying to finish his screenplay, Seven Psychopaths and hence the movie’s name it is.
This is one such best dark comedies which have so many elements and so many characters too and of course, all of them are strong and have their own distinct features.
Other characters include Marty’s best friend Billy who kidnaps people’s pet and then return them safely for the reward. The next character is Billy’s partner in crime Hans and his cancer ridden wife Myra. Amidst all this Marty is trying hard to finish his script as soon as possible.
To help him out Billy, places an ad and inviting psychopaths to share their stories with Marty in order to help him in completing his script. This is the defining moment of the movie which shapes its further storyline and turns it into something exciting to watch.
6. American Beauty (1999)
Rotten Tomatoes: 88% IMDb: 8.4/10
American Beauty is basically a drama movie which is portrayed with the genre of black comedy and hence makes it to the list of best dark comedies. The movie revolves around the character of Lester Burnham who is a 42 years old advertising executive.
However, his life turn into a havoc when he becomes infatuated with his teenage daughter’s best friend named Angela.
The other things adding fuel to the fire is the materialistic wife of Lester named Carolyn and their insecure daughter Jane. Rather than black comedy, you will witness the element of satirical comedy and real-life projection of notions of beauty and satisfaction of American Middle-Class society.
There are various elements showcased in the movie like beauty, romance, paternal love, redemption, materialism and much more. Because of the amazing story line of the movie, it turned out to be a huge success on the box office too.
7. The Voices (2014)
Rotten Tomatoes: 74% IMDb: 6.4/10
Who would not want to watch a Ryan Reynolds movie especially when his wit and humor is successfully utilized in such kind of best dark comedies. The Voices is actually a black comedy horror movie which revolves around Ryan’s character of Jerry.
The character of Jerry is suffering from Schizophrenia, but he decides to skip his medication and enjoys living in his delusional life.
Jerry lives with his dog named Bosco and his cat named Mr. Whiskers in a modified apartment above a bowling alley. Because of his condition, he hallucinates his dog and cat talking to him where his dog represents his good intentions but his cat represents his more wild side.
The main story of the movie starts when Jerry kills his coworkers Fiona on a date and this changes the entire plot for the movie. With amazing performance of Ryan Reynolds in the movie, no wonder why it is counted amongst the top dark comedies.
8. Life of Brian (1979)
Rotten Tomatoes: 97% IMDb: 8.1/10
Monty Python’s Life of Brian or simply Life of Brian carries a different perspective and process towards the genre of best dark comedies. This is mainly because this is a British movie not American and it majorly derives the element of religious satirical comedy which turns quite edgy and grey sometimes.
The movie focuses on the character of Brian Cohen played by Graham Chapman who is a young Jewish man born on the same day and next door to Jesus Christ.
However, this coincident does not go down well with Brian as he is mistaken as Messiah and things turn quite upside down in his life. Of course, because of having such a sensitive content in this movie, it experienced fair share of controversies too mainly because the cinema was not that tolerant at that time.
However, these controversies did not stop the movie from becoming a great success at the box office and it also earned critical acclaim too.
9. Faults (2014)
Rotten Tomatoes: 91% IMDb: 6.7/10
Faults is the next pick under the genre of best dark comedies which is a mix between this genre as well as drama. The movie is a comparatively short film than other types of movies in this genre but it is definitely a must watch pick in this category for sure.
So, the plot of Faults revolves around the character of Ansel Roth who is a writer and a cult specialist who is kind of weird too.
He uses an expired voucher in a restaurant to pay for the meal and is forcibly thrown out after refusing to pay for it. One day everything changes for him when he is found involved in the suicide of a troubled woman who turn out to be the sister of a man who is a follower of Roth’s cult.
With tons of sudden elements involved in the movie, it requires a while to figure out what is happening around us.
10. The Big Lebowski (1998)
Rotten Tomatoes: 82% IMDb: 8.1/10
The last pick of the list of best dark comedy movies is The Big Lebowski and I am very sure many people would have heard about it because of its popularity. The movie is a combination of the genres of black comedy and crime drama which together makes an impact in the movie.
The movie focuses on the character of Jeffery portrayed by Jeff Bridges who is also known as Jeffery “The Dude” Lebowski.
Jeffery is a LA slacker and bowler whose life changes one day when he gets assaulted because of the case of mistaken identities and finally figure out that a millionaire named Jeffery Lebowski was the intended victim of it.
Because of this same name confusion, millionaire Lebowski’s trophy wife gets kidnapped and the Dude Lebowski gets ransom call for it. The movie then follows that how the later character deals with this situation including the greed for the money too. This turn the movie into one hilarious and notable mention in the list of best dark comedies.
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Interestingly the movies belonging to the genre of best dark comedies are actually quite entertaining. The dialogues are brave and straightforward plus the entire screenplay of the movies is relatable with the society and the problems in it.
In fact, these black comedy movies are seriously the best way to break the stereotypes and discuss about the topics which has not been entertained well before. I think the earlier times of cinema was more progressive than current one and this is why there were some really classic movies made in that era especially in this genre.