Dark comedy is a genre which walks a very fine line between the hilarious and the nasty, with many movies dealing with death, violence, murder, and issues within society with a great deal of humour, maturity and surprise.
The best dark comedies are the ones that are willing to tow the line between the outright depressing and effectively funny. By design, death, murder and the like are not topics to be laughed at, but if a dark comedy is doing its job properly, it's able to look at them with a keen eye and find the hilarity within, even if it ends up being quite bleak.
Even better than that, though, a great dark comedy is also able to be a thoughtful character piece focused on certain aspects of human life, from morality, mental health and identity.
The following movies are all examples of dark comedies which nail every aspect of the genre - funny, sombre, harsh and often surreal, all are a must watch for those after a good scoop of weird or controversial humour.
Whether dealing with the meaning of life, talking severed heads, hitmen or blackmail, here are 10 brilliant dark comedies that you just have to see.
10. A Serious Man
Starring the tragically underrated Michael Stuhlberg and boasting the typical insanity and thoughtfulness of the Coen Brothers' other movies, 2009's A Serious Man is a wonderfully chaotic dark dramedy about a man (a serious one, if you'll believe it) who tries to figure out what's going wrong in his life whilst questioning his faith.
Stuhlberg stars as the titular man, a Jewish physics teacher called Larry Gopnik, who finds himself going through some tough spots in both his professional and personal lives. For one, his daughter is stealing money from him, and his son is seemingly addicted to marijuana. To make matters worse, his ex-wife has kicked him out of his house and his divorce bills are mounting. At school, he deals with a student who is trying to bribe him for a good grade.
All told, the film is a thrilling and bleakly funny look into the life of a very unfortunate man, told in a way only the Coen Brothers ever could. It's thoughtful, charming, and often hilarious.
And thanks to Stuhlberg's performance - playing Gopnick not as some pathetic man lost in his own pity, but rather as someone genuinely well-meaning who doesn't understand why bad things keep happening to him - and the Coen Brothers' typically seamless script, A Serious Man never once falters and achieves wonders.