The ’Burbs. 1989. USA. Directed by Joe Dante. With Tom Hanks, Carrie Fisher, Bruce Dern, Corey Feldman
Unlike fellow suburban fantasist Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante added satirical bite and Looney Tunes slapstick to tales of the uncanny in the American cul-de-sac—most notably in 1984’s monsters-on-Main-Street classic Gremlins. In The ’Burbs, Dante brings his macabre sensibility to the story of Ray Peterson (Hanks), who, along with the other goofballs living on Mayfield Place, investigates the apparent murder of another resident at the hands of some mysterious new neighbors. Hanks, in rare straight-man mode, anchors an ensemble that includes Carrie Fisher as Ray’s beleaguered wife and a terrific Bruce Dern as an unhinged former military man.