In "The Burbs," a black comedy directed by Joe Dante ("Gremlins") Ray (Tom Hanks) and Carol (Carrie Fisher) Peterson are living out their quaint little existence in a stereotypical suburban neighborhood.
It's all green grass and white picket fenches until a mysterious family, the Klopeks, move in next door. Ray's two neighbors, freeloader Art (Rick Ducommun) and military nutcase Rumsfield (Bruce Dern) believe the Klopeks are actually a family of murderers who killed Walter, the old man in next door.
Now Ray, along with the other two civilians-turned-detectives, attempt to solve the mystery before any other neighbors coincidentally turn up missing.
"The Burbs" is one of those classic comedies from the ‘80s. It's got Tom Hanks at the peak of his nice guy streak, following up other big success such as "The Money Pit" and "Big." This film is often overlooked and generally underrated, but offers a ton of laughs and some great comedic performances.
Bruce Dern as the ex-soldier who hasn't quite left his military roots is wonderful. He's got all of these conspiracy theories and you really get the sense that he believes every one of them. He's convinced the Klopeks are brain-sucking murders, and he constantly devises numerous ways to find out if they really are.
What would an ‘80s movie be without Corey Feldman? Yes, the star of "Stand By Me" and "Gremlins" plays Ricky, a dopey teenage neighbor who watches the events of the movie unfold from the comfort of his front porch.
These characters are so well acted and so unfeasibly wacky that you just have to believe there is a neighborhood somewhere with people like this. It's also unnerving in a way, as we've all heard horror stories about what was going on in the next door neighbor's basement - and "The Burbs" certainly plays on those fears as well.
All in all, while "The Burbs" isn't the tightest film with most well constructed narrative, it is a sorely underappreciated comedy that is sure to make you laugh at the absurdity of it all.