We venture back to the good old days of horror comedy with The ‘Burbs, starring Tom Hanks. I recall seeing this film as a young child, and remember it being funny and a little creepy. When I saw this film available on-demand, I was excited to give it a watch now as an adult. I was certainly in for a treat.
The film centers around a cul-de-sac community of nosey neighbors whose idea of entertainment is seemingly watching their own neighborhood. When an elusive family moves into an unkempt house on the street, it’s the talk amongst the men of the village. Ray Peterson (Hanks) is the first to stir things up with his paranoia and curiosity towards the family, but it’s his friend and neighbor Art (Rick Ducommun) who really adds fuel to the fire.
Their curiosity gets the best of them as the guys, along with a military-obsessed Rumsfield (Bruce Dern), plan on getting a closer look at the clan they now believe to be a satanic cult. Hilarity and mystery ensues as they all have a run-in with the Klopeks, the oddball and eccentric trio of men who’s nationality remains uncertain. An encounter with the men and their wives is the highlight of the film, with many memorable moments from Ray indulging in some sardines to a dog, or “horse” in the basement.
Corey Feldman stars as Ricky Butler, a teenage neighbor who provides the more youthful humor to the mix. His character and friends provide some entertainment of their own as they play the patrons of the reality show that is the street of which he lives on. Anyone who’s lived in a close-knit community could probably relate, or even those who’ve partook in people-watching. People can act very funny sometimes and this film does a great job in playing with that.
The story itself winds up not being anything spectacular. The ending felt as if it were just slapped on to satisfy the setup of the rest of the film, but honestly I didn’t mind that. This film really lives off of the performances of the cast. Physical humor is abundant, and each character comes with their own quirks and interesting personality. I found myself laughing out loud on several occasions, which is rare with movies these days. The ‘Burbs is a film that shows that humor doesn’t have to rely on sex or bathroom humor to be funny, but it instead succeeds as a result of its brilliant cast. With a horror spirit and a little dark comedy ‘The Burbs is a reminder of a lost era of movies.