The 'Burbs


The 'Burbs

Critics Consensus

The 'Burbs has an engaging premise, likable cast, and Joe Dante at the helm -- so the mixed-up genre exercise they produce can't help but feel like a disappointment.



Total Count: 38


Audience Score

User Ratings: 60,797
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Movie Info

Ward and June Cleaver have nothing on suburban couple Ray and Carol Peterson (Tom Hanks and Carrie Fisher). Together with their perfect son, Ray and Carol are so clean that they squeak. Thus, when new neighbors Dr. Werner Klopek (Henry Gibson), Uncle Reuben (Brother Theodore), and Hans (Courtney Gains) begin evincing bizarre behavior, Ray is slightly put out. Carol thinks that Ray is getting all worked up over nothing. Ray and his fellow suburbanites endure all sorts of slapstick misadventures in the vain hope of getting "the goods" on the newcomers. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi


Tom Hanks
as Ray Peterson
Bruce Dern
as Mark Rumsfield
Carrie Fisher
as Carol Peterson
Rick Ducommun
as Art Weingartner
Corey Feldman
as Ricky Butler
Henry Gibson
as Dr. Werner Klopek
Wendy Schaal
as Bonnie Rumsfield
Theodore Gottlieb
as Uncle Reuben Klopek
Courtney Gains
as Hans Klopek
Cory Danziger
as Dave Peterson
Heather Haase
as Ricky's Girl Friend
Nick Katt
as Steve Kuntz
Brenda Benner
as Walter's Daughter
Patrika Darbo
as Art's Wife
Dick Miller
as Vic, Garbageman #1
Robert Picardo
as Joe, Garbageman #2
Franklyn Ajaye
as Detective #1
Bill Stevenson
as Ricky's Friend
Nicky Katt
as Steve Kuntz
Rance Howard
as Detective #2
Gary Hays
as Ricky's Friend
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News & Interviews for The 'Burbs

Critic Reviews for The 'Burbs

All Critics (38) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (20) | Rotten (18)

  • It's inconceivable that "The 'burbs looked good on paper.

    Mar 26, 2019 | Full Review…
  • The 'Burbs doesnit quite go the distance, but for most of its length it is a superbly inventive, insightful and funny black comedy.

    Feb 22, 2017 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • This movie was directed by Joe Dante, whose style has become increasingly broad and abrasive since he made the clever Gremlins back in 1984.

    Feb 22, 2017 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • The script would like to be a horror film, a comedy and a commentary on suburban living, but it doesn't hit any target.

    Feb 22, 2017 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • Director Joe Dante funnels his decidedly cracked view of suburban life through dark humour in The 'Burbs.

    Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic
  • Characteristically, Dante's nonchalant attitude towards plot structure makes for erratic pacing (the last half hour does flag), but that's part and parcel of his breathless, anarchic style.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The 'Burbs

  • Aug 01, 2015
    This might not even be a horror movie, though it has some hints of suspenseful elements and what not, and Joe Dante has been known for his more offbeat efforts, but much like a lot of 80s horror films, there's a certain charm about it that makes this film an absolute blast to watch. I honestly have no idea what it was, but I just had a lot of fun watching this film. Perhaps it's the more nostalgic approach to filmmaking or how it embraced its sillier aspects. It could also be the fact that the film is actually, in spite of its critical reception on here, really damn good and entertaining. I just think the film does a good job at embracing the zanier aspects and satirizing suburbanites' sometimes intrusiveness upon the lives of others because, somehow, they're bored with their own. Of course, this being satire, it's done in a more exaggerated fashion, where the neighborhood, or most of it, think that the Klopeks, the strange new family, are involved in some pretty weird shit that the Ray, Art and Mark are determined to find out. I do like that the film exists in a plane of reality where almost anything is possible. Not that just anything/everything WILL happen, just the knowledge that it could. It just feels for surreal, yet at the end of the film reality pretty much comes crashing down on this little suburb and it's like a completely different movie for just a few minutes. I thought that was cool, because you think it's all fun and games with these three, but there's very real consequences to their actions. Well, there's very real consequences for like, maybe, 5 minutes. And this is the only part of the film that I didn't really like. The film spends its entire narrative suspecting the Klopeks of bloody murder, Ray, after getting himself almost killed due to being dragged into Art's paranoia, realizes that the Klopeks weren't the monsters, the neighborhood was. He goes on this impassioned speech explaining how everything they did was wrong and how the Klopeks just want to live their life their own way. After this, it turns out that the Klopeks pretty much did everything that was suspected of them, perhaps with the exception of the satanism. I just think it's a film that definitely preys on peoples' views of others different than them or who lead a different life to their own. It was surreal, then it was very real, when it felt like there were gonna be consequences, then it was back to surreal again. It's not like it's a big complaint, but it is one. It's just something that didn't really benefit the film in one way or another. With that said, I still enjoyed the hell out of the film. It is greatly cast. Tom Hanks is a really good comedic actor. This guy is great at everything he does, honestly. But Bruce Dern, Carrie Fisher and Rick Ducommun are all really good here. It's also a very funny film, perhaps not hilarious or anything, but there are some bits that were really good. It's definitely very well-written as well. Some minor complaints aside, I had a blast watching this film. It's just so much fun to watch. It's a film that I wish I had seen sooner. I'd definitely recommend it, it's pretty damn good.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Jan 10, 2014
    From Joe Dante comes the brilliant satirical comedy The 'Burbs. Starring Tom Hanks, Carrie Fisher, Bruce Dern, and Corey Feldman, the film is excellently cast, and is full of strong performances. The story follows a group of neighbors who begin to suspect that the strange new family that just moved in are actually a group of serial killers. The comedy is quite sharp and spoofs the suburban lifestyle especially well. Additionally, the writing does a great job at balancing the comedic and horror tones of the film. While a little cartoonish, The 'Burbs is hilariously entertaining, with plenty of clever satire.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 29, 2011
    i laughed cause of it's moments, it's goofy but it can go really dark. so dark, that it stopped being entertaining and turned into a twisted comedy nightmare. C
    Juan C Super Reviewer
  • Jul 23, 2011
    Bona fide cult film. This film was a little odd for its generation with Dante struggling to engage the fandom of his growing audience. This film has grown on me over time and is now one of my favourite cult films. Hanks plays against type, but surrounds himself with colourful character actors and a solid quirky filmmaker. The mix genre is a hard one, but Dante engages the storyline with a certain quality and style that will keep you hooked. Great film and one to watch again and again. 05/06/2019
    Brendan N Super Reviewer

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