10 Comedy Movies With Compelling Mysteries

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While some wouldn’t make an immediate connection between mysteries and comedies, the two genres can and have combined their respective appeal. The daring blend of genres gave way to films that many still hold near and dear to their hearts today. From box office juggernauts to cherished cult classics, comedies with a compelling mystery weave hilarious lines and jaw-dropping twists into their plots. The crème de la crème highlights the strengths of both genres and the creativity of the cast and crew.

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Deriving influence from Alfred Hitchcock and Agatha Christie, the mysteries embedded within these comedy films are far from easily solvable. Between some of the character’s comical lines and decisions, audiences have voiced their amusement with the clues, the climax and the unsettling aftermath. Whether it be the discomfort with the startling revelation seen in The Menu or the ridiculousness of a film like Amsterdam, the amalgamations of suspense and silliness tend to blur the lines. Here are 10 comedy movies with compelling mysteries.

10 Clue

Inspired by the board game of the same name, Clue is a 1985 film that follows six different figures as they arrive at a mansion hidden in the woods of New England. It doesn’t take long for the strangers to realize that they have been blackmailed by the mysterious Mr. Boddy (Lee Ving). With the police on the way, Mr. Boddy proposes a compromise, but not before he is murdered. With the six strangers and two servants of the mansion left, the night becomes a race against time to solve Mr. Boddy’s murder.

What Makes It Compelling

Despite debuting to mixed reviews, Clue remains an ambitious film that falls in line with the game’s premise, but also translates well into film. Aside from the whodunnit style of the movie, Clue also treats its audience to three different endings. Mirroring the unpredictability of the game, the film was sent to theaters with one of three endings, each implicating a different character.

With its fair share of suspense, laughter, and drama, Clue would go on to develop a cult following and inspire future televisions and films with its distinct interpretation of the source material. Stream on Prime Video

9 Vengeance (2022)

Vengeance, starring B.J. Novak, finds journalist Ben Manalowitz traveling from his New York home to the new world of West Texas in hopes of investigating the death of Abby Shaw, with whom he hooked up. After attending the funeral and mourning with Abby’s family, Ben learns from her pensive brother Ty (Boyd Holbrook) that the circumstances surrounding Abby’s death are puzzling, concluding that she may have been murdered. Alongside Ben’s business-savvy podcast producer Eloise (Issa Rae), the trio begin a formal inspection of the enabling circumstances behind Abby’s death.

What Makes It Compelling

The mystery behind Vengeance doesn’t just play into the pervasive phenomenon of true crime podcasting, but also calls attention to the clash of ideals within the United States. Leaning on satire, Novak navigates the painful truth by way of centering the investigation around two inescapable topics. Again, murder mysteries aren’t a new terrain for creatives, but his ambition makes for an entertaining mystery-comedy with elements of a thriller that allows for nuance to enrich Abby’s story and, in turn, envelops us all into a conundrum that we all feed into. Stream on Peacock

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8 Hot Fuzz (2007)

Hot Fuzz
Hot Fuzz

Release Date
February 14, 2007

Rating
R

Runtime
121

Hot Fuzz begins with an introduction to newly promoted Sergeant Nicholas Angel (played by Simon Pegg), who is relocated to Sandford, a small village in Gloucestershire. It is there that he, accompanied by the much younger Constable Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), learns about a series of grotesque murders taking place. With a vested interest in protecting the rest of the town from the axe-wielding murderer, the duo embark on an investigation that shouldn’t be funny, but one can’t help but laugh.

What Makes It Compelling

The murder investigation in Hot Fuzz is laden with a laugh-inducing satire that flips the buddy-cop trope on its head. Whether it be self-referential dialogue, Danny’s introduction as a fan of buddy cop films, or the cameo appearances of famous British comedians like Stephen Merchant and Bill Bailey, the film oozes dopamine despite being founded on a harrowing plot.

Of course, Hot Fuzz never sacrifices the integral mission, with both officers going to great lengths in hopes of solving the crime. In fact, the film uses its most humorous moments to make the mystery at hand all the more necessary to solve. Rent on Prime Video

7 A Shot in the Dark (1964)

A Shot in the Dark
A Shot in the Dark

Release Date
June 23, 1964

Cast
Peter Sellers , Elke Sommer , George Sanders , Herbert Lom , Tracy Reed , Graham Stark

Rating
PG

Runtime
102

A Shot In The Dark stands as one of the earliest iterations of the mystery-comedy. Earning comparisons to beloved Hitchcockian mysteries, the sequel to the Pink Panther film finds Peter Sellers reprising his role as the now-iconic Inspector Jacques Closeau. Investigating a murder and, subsequently, the incriminating actions of a maid named Maria (Elke Sommer), Closeau navigates the murky crime scene with his trademark clumsiness, making for an unforgettable yet enjoyable film that many have considered superior to its prequel.

What Makes It Compelling

While virtually anyone can write a murder into their narratives, A Shot in the Dark uses the cleverness and ambition of Sellers and the cast to get audiences invested in the survival of the characters and the vindication of Maria. Furthermore, the intentions seem to pay off, as the comedic timing present makes for a hilarious experience that doesn’t distract from the dilemma at hand, but instead draws even more attention to the discrepancies and danger that lies within the murder at the center of the story. Stream on Max

6 Ready or Not (2019)

ready or not
Ready or Not

Release Date
August 21, 2019

Rating
R

Runtime
95

Meeting the parents of the love of your life is already a harrowing experience. Anxiety takes over as the thought of being denied by the people that raised your partner can be very daunting to imagine. 2019’s Ready or Not takes this very fear and creates an enthralling spectacle out of a seemingly mundane apprehension. Introducing Grace (Samara Weaving), the film highlights her relationship with her fiancé, Alex Le Domas (Mark O’Brien), before descending into a truly horrifying night where Grace and the La Domas family meet for an unexpectedly unforgettable wedding night ritual.

What Makes It Compelling

Ready or Not takes apart the hectic traditions that come with preparing a wedding, and delves into a riveting story about family, tradition, wealth, and misogyny. What makes the film enjoyable is its experimentation with the final girl trope. Themes and interesting assertions about purity, the sanctity of marriage, and trust between partners are expertly explored throughout Grace’s ordeal, resulting in a fascinating horror that treats its audiences to amusing moments that only accentuate the absurd nature of the La Domas tradition.

5 A Simple Favor (2018)

A Simple Favor finds Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively in an adventurous comedy-thriller that rattles the expectations of the audiences. The film opens with widowed-mother and vlogger Stephanie (Kendrick) who strikes up a friendship with Emily (Lively), the mother of her son’s schoolmate. As the bond progresses, Stephanie and Emily begin to pour into each other, discussing their personal plights. One day, Emily entrusts Stephanie in watching her son, but the days go by and Stephanie cannot seem to reach her. Begging for answers, Stephanie begins her own investigation and reveals a stunning slew of secrets that forever changes everything she came to believe.

What Makes It Compelling

A Simple Favor‘s mystery is bewildering, to say the least. Throughout the film, Stephanie retraces Emily’s footprints, transforming into a rookie yet resourceful detective. As perplexing as the mystery of the movie is, Stephanie and Emily’s many interactions are defined by a quotidian joy that effectively mirrors simple moments of fun that many experience between moments of stressful obligations and saddening moments alone. The balance between the two carefully illustrates the dangers that lie beneath the glimmering veneer of normalcy. Stream on Prime Video

4 See How They Run (2022)

See How They Run
See How They Run

Release Date
September 16, 2022

Director
Tom George

Rating
PG-13

Set in 1950s London, See How They Run centers around a murder taking place in the city’s West End. Jaded Inspector Stoppard (Sam Rockwell) and the eager Constable Stalker (Saorsie Ronan) agree to solve the murder. The film thus chronicles a delightful yet dark look into the underbelly of the theater world.

What Makes It Compelling

See How They Runconstructs a whimsical comedy within a murder investigation. With the center of the mystery being an unlikable director, everyone is implicated and has just as much of a reason to retaliate than anyone else. The investigation becomes an enjoyable trek towards the truth, with each reveal being a spontaneous addition that both entertains audiences and speaks to the murky emotions within the group of thespians and producers implicated. Stream on Max or Hulu

3 Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)

Centered in a universe where humans and toon character live together, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? establishes that “toons” or animated characters generally help directors and producers create films, effectively creating a thriving niche industry of their own. However, the murder of Toontown’s owner, Marvin Acme (Stubby Kane), leads to an overwhelming amount of accusations hurled towards the titular Roger Rabbit (Charles Fleischer). Detective Eddie Valiannt (Bob Hoskins), driven by personal ties to Toontown, agrees to investigate the circumstances behind Acme’s murder and thus, sets out to prove Roger’s innocence.

What Makes It Compelling

Mixing live action and animation, Who Framed Roger Rabbit is certainly entertaining, and the mystery at hand serves as an allegory for conversations about racial profiling, policing, and bias, topics that some of the best of mysteries can only attempt to speak to. Stream on Disney+

2 They Cloned Tyrone (2023)

They Cloned Tyrone
They Cloned Tyrone

Release Date
July 21, 2023

Director
Juel Taylor

Rating
R

Runtime
2hr 2min

Read Our Review

One of the more recent delights, They Cloned Tyrone sees heavyweights like John Boyega and Teyonah Parris star in a Blaxploitation-inspired mystery-comedy that packs a punch and provokes senseless laughter. Joining Boyega and Parris is Jamie Foxx, and, together, their characters come together to uncover a government conspiracy. Combining sci-fi, mystery, comedy, and drama, They Cloned Tyrone stands as one of the highlights of 2023.

What Makes It Compelling

The characters in They Cloned Tyrone strongly capture the realistic experiences of Black Americans while also fighting back against regressive and dehumanizing stereotypes. With various complexities to their personalities and their ambitions, the leading trio makes for amazing rookie detectives and, more importantly, admirable heroes. The mystery itself plays into contemporary conversations about famous conspiracies within the Black community and captures the frightening nature of cultural emblems and settings with a sense of security being used against the very people responsible for crafting and ascribing meaning to these familiar symbols and places. Stream on Netflix

1 Knives Out (2019)

knives out
Knives Out

Release Date
November 27, 2019

Rating
PG-13

Runtime
130

One of the exciting films in recent memory, Knives Out is a 2019 film that focuses on the murder of a cold yet well-connected patriarch. What starts as a typical murder mystery soon becomes a fascinating and comical character study of the large, wealthy family and the many personalities they host. With venomous characters and secret ambitions, Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) spends his time there dutifully interrogating the suspected parties and investigating the manor itself. The information he unearths leads to a startling set of revelations and an exhilarating inspection that leads to a bombshell.

What Makes It Compelling

The mystery that lies at the center of Harlan’s (Christopher Plummer) death slowly but surely reveals itself as a story as old as time. The corruption within the Thrombey family has many faces, but shares the same voice. Interpersonal rivalries and unchecked bigotry permeate the estate and is best presented through the family’s treatment of Maria (Ana de Armas), Harlan’s nurse. While many have been quick to cast modern murder mysteries aside, Knives Out uses seemingly relevant commentary to illustrate how age-old practices and unresolved conflicts lay the groundwork for tragedy. Rent on AppleTV

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