Movie Review: The Burbs (1989)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1989 comedy starring Tom Hanks and Carrie Fisher.

Synopsis: A surburbanite decides to take his vacation at home rather than at the lake like his wife suggested. Instead of relaxing, however, he becomes obsessed with his new next door neighbors and the strange lights and sounds coming out of their basement. This obsession grows when one of his other neighbors disappears and he and his friends begin to suspect foul play.

Better Than I Remember

I actually have never been that big of a fan of Tom Hanks the comedian and usually avoid watching his 80s movies. But, my wife and I came across this film on Netflix last night and, not wanting to spend an hour trying to figure out what else to watch, decided to put it on. As it turns out, it was better than I remember it.

I think the thing I liked best about this movie was the fact it wasn't as predictable as I thought it was going to be, especially when it came to the neighbors. Other than the strange lights and noises coming out of their house, there really wasn't anything about the new neighbors that really stood out as menacing. And, while they definitely chose to be isolated, that could just as easily been blamed on the somewhat hostile neighbors (especially when they were giving the house a stare-down whenever they saw any sort of life).

As a result of this, it was hard to tell if Hanks' character and his other neighbors were just reading into things too much or if there really was something going on at the house, especially when the dog found a bone in the backyard that could have been human or just could have been a large bone from something else (like a cow). And, I loved how the movie kept the truth a secret until toward the very end, with a last-second twist.

The one thing I wasn't a fan of was the fact the movie does tend to leave some things unexplained, including what, exactly, Dr. Klopek (Gibson) was doing in his basement that required all the batteries and even resulted in a lightning bolt on the roof of his house. It would have been better had there at least been an attempt to clear up those loose ends.

The 'Burbs

Tom Hanks portrays suburbanite Ray Peterson, whose plans for a peaceful vacation are disturbed by a creepy new family on the block, in this outrageous suspense-comedy directed b...

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Final Opinion

I'm still not a big Tom Hanks comedy fan. But, in this particular case, I was glad I took the time to give one of his movies a second chance. This film was better than I remembered in being and we enjoyed watching it.

My Grade: B

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Updated: 08/04/2017, StevenHelmer
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