It’s always heartwarming to see new audiences coming across a personal favorite. The posters on r/horror regularly comb through older movies, and they often give some real gems a moment in the spotlight. Top of the pile today is a recommendation that you check out killer 1989 Tom Hanks comedy The ‘Burbs.
Directed by Gremlins‘ Joe Dante, the movie sees Tom Hanks’ regular suburbanite Joe becoming increasingly suspicious of the new family that’s moved in down the block. The answers to what’s going on take a while to come, though the fact that their basement windows are flashing with electrical sparks, and they seem to be digging a series of man-shaped holes in the back garden, doesn’t bode well.
Bolstered by a great supporting cast including Bruce Dern, Carrie Fisher, Robert Picardo, and Corey Feldman, The ‘Burbs has gradually assembled a strong cult following in the three decades since its release. That’s a relief because then-contemporary critics weren’t convinced, with the film receiving mixed reviews, criticizing it for feeling like an extended episode of The Twilight Zone.
It’s been re-evaluated in the years since, with modern critics now seeing it as a sharp satire on suburban life that prefigures movies like American Beauty. Beyond that, there are some sly digs at middle-aged Boomers abandoning 1960s radicalism for the reactionary small-mindedness they once hit out against.
All that aside, The ‘Burbs is simply a very funny horror comedy and a great watch. It’s currently streaming on Peacock, Starz, and is available to rent from all the usual places.