The ‘Burbs (1989) Movie Review

The ‘Burbs (1989)

Movie Review by Debbie Winkler


Starring: Tom Hanks, Bruce Dern, Carrie Fisher, Rick Ducommun, Corey Feldman
Director: Joe Dante
Release Date: 17 February 1989
Language: English
Length: 101 minutes
Movie Rating: PG
View Format: DVD
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars


“When secretive new neighbors move in next door, suburbanite Ray Peterson (Tom Hanks) and his friends (Bruce Dern and Rick Ducommun) let their paranoia get the best of them as they start to suspect the newcomers of evildoings and commence an investigation. But it’s hardly how Ray – who much prefers drinking beer, reading his newspaper and watching a ball game on the tube – expected to spend his vacation. Carrie Fisher and Corey Feldman co-star.” —


I rented this movie to take up to my nephews’ house for a long weekend.  I couldn’t remember much about it, but I did remember a bit about the plot line and that it had a funny twist at the end.  It was rated PG and I thought it would be pretty safe and fun to take up for a group of 5 boys ages 4 – 14 and they enjoyed it.  It is very ’80s in styling and pacing, but it was pretty fun to see it again.  I know that I am ruining this for everyone, but I am going to say it anyway (***stop reading if you don’t want to hear how the movie ends***), the best part about this movie is that you expect the guys to completely out of whack with their allegations that their neighbors are crazy serial killers, but they are right!  No one believes them and everyone thinks that they are really paranoid and weird, but they are the only ones who know the truth – there really are dead bodies buried in the basement of the house next door!

There is nothing really special about this movie, but it is pretty funny.  The three male leads (Tom Hanks, Bruce Dern & Rick Ducommun) are all so paranoid that they range into the funny/silly range and open up the movie to plenty of enjoyment and laughs.  I kind of remembered this movie from my childhood, but it was great to see it again as an adult and appreciate what an old classic this movie is.  There are a lot of big names in this movie and they elevate this dated movie into something that is somewhat of a cult classic.  Teens and tweens will definitely get a kick out of making fun of the hair and clothing in this movie, but will find that the few scenes of creepiness are the perfect counterpart to the humor.  This is a great choice for family night or for a sleepover.  Definitely worth your time to pick up as a rental, especially since it is in the cheap section!


This movie features some sexual content & innuendo, some inappropriate jokes, crude humor, suggestive clothing, and discussions of dead bodies and murder.  Recommended for ages 8 and up.

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Filed under Comedy Movies, Thriller Movies

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