HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Arctic
Fate of Lee Khan, The
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Ladyworld
Rocketman
Kid Who Would Be King, The
Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound
America America
Darkest Minds, The
Along Came Jones
Hummingbird Project, The
Under the Table You Must Go
Harry Birrell Presents Films of Love and War
Hanging Tree, The
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare
Itsy Bitsy
Witchmaker, The
Prey, The
If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
Happy Death Day 2U
Full Moon High
Strange But True
Kamikaze 1989
Never Grow Old
Time of Your Life, The
Mountain Men, The
Epic
Best Before Death
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
Isabelle
Non-Stop New York
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood
Oblomov
Alita: Battle Angel
We the Animals
Ibiza Undead
Wings of Eagles, The
Beats
Body Parts
   
 
Newest Articles
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
Wondrous Women: Supergirl vs Captain Marvel
Things Have Changed: Films You'd Be Insane to Make Now
   
 
  'burbs, The Bad Neighbour PolicyBuy this film here.
Year: 1989
Director: Joe Dante
Stars: Tom Hanks, Bruce Dern, Carrie Fisher, Rick Ducommun, Corey Feldman, Wendy Schaal, Henry Gibson, Brother Theodore, Courtney Gains, Gale Gordon, Dick Miller, Robert Picardo, Cory Danzinger, Franklyn Ajaye, Rance Howard
Genre: Horror, Comedy
Rating:  6 (from 3 votes)
Review: Ray Peterson (Tom Hanks) was awoken in the middle of the night by strange, industrial sounds emanating from the house next door. Now, during the first morning of his week's vacation, he is wondering about his mysterious neighbours who have only moved in a month ago but have so far made no attempt to make friends with anyone in the street. His wife, Carol (Carrie Fisher), wants to spend the week at the lake, but all Ray wants to do is sit around watching television and do nothing in particular. There's not much chance of that while his other neighbours are determined to find out what is going on in the mysterious house next to his, and he gets roped into their schemes...

Written by Dana Olsen, The 'burbs was director Joe Dante's return to suburbia and the dark undercurrents lurking there, but where in Gremlins the threat was from outside, the little green monsters introduced into the environment that grotesquely parodied the citizens' behaviour, here the suburbanites perform all the grotesque behaviour themselves. Ray's weird neighbours, the Klopeks, don't do themselves any favours in not fitting in, and the imaginations of the people in the street run rampant wondering what they could be up to behind closed doors. Although the film essentially works out various sketches around its theme, the conclusions it draws are interesting.

Ray's non-weird neighbours aren't quite as sane as they wish to make out. Ray's best friend is Art (Rick Ducommun), whose wife is away for the week, and he is the fuel for Ray's paranoia, spinning tales of sensational murders to back up his claims. Rumsfield (Bruce Dern) is a military veteran who is married to trophy wife Bonnie (Wendy Schaal) and is all too eager to join in with the general suspicion as a change from worrying about the dog of elderly Walter (Gale Gordon) crapping on his lawn. Meanwhile, watching with great amusement is Ricky (Corey Feldman), a teenager who makes no secret of enjoying the drama unfolding on his doorstep. Watching with no amusement whatsoever is the long suffering Carol, who acts as the stern mother in reaction to the men's childishness.

Although the noises from the Klopeks' home, which is presumably set up to look like the house from the Texas Chain Saw Massacre, cause Ray, Art and Rumsfield to hold nighttime surveillance vigils, things get serious when there's a disappearance in the neighbourhood. Walter's dog is found wandering free, and Walter isn't found at all, even after they break into his house to check up on him - only his wig remains. The locals' theories gather pace and they put two and two together to make five - obviously the Klopeks are responsible for the missing man, and perhaps they have killed him too! Why else would they be digging at odd hours of the night? Carol is having none of this, and arranges a visit to the Klopeks, cueing a nicely observed sequence of discomfort where Ray and company have to make awkward small talk with the eccentrics.

The 'burbs had a troubled production history, which is evident in the way the story is resolved. Well acted throughout, Hanks is consistently good as a family man whose idleness and comfortable situation gives him and his friends the space to imagine terrible events are happening nearby, and Dern is awarded many of the best lines ("You keep a horse in the basement?"), but the full potential of the plot is never quite exploited: that Ray and his cohorts are the ones acting suspiciously. However, as the Klopeks' bizarre behaviour is laid on so thickly, this great revelation has to be scuppered by a banal twist which lets down the brave scenes before it. It features some inspired moments, such as Ray flicking through the channels on TV to find only horror movies playing, which leads to a nightmare seeing him roasted on a huge barbecue, but it's frustrating overall. Music by Jerry Goldsmith.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 7933 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Joe Dante  (1946 - )

American director of science fiction and horror, a former critic who got his big break from Roger Corman directing Hollywood Boulevard. Piranha was next, and he had big hits with The Howling and Gremlins. But his less successful films can be as interesting: Explorers didn't do as well as he had hoped, but illustrated the love of pop culture that is apparent in all his work.

Other films include flop sequel turned cult favourite Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Innerspace, the underrated The 'burbs, Matinee (a more obvious tribute to the movies of his youth), Small Soldiers, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, The Hole and Burying the Ex.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: