The ‘Burbs is Joe Dante working at the top of his game (that’s saying something when he also helmed The Howling and Gremlins). Dante’s macabre humour is perfect for the mixed tone of Dana Olsen’s script and he attacks the film with a mischievous glee. He has the perfect leading man in Hanks, an actor who is the ultimate screen everyman. Hanks goes from being idle to curious and then to manic over the course of the film and he makes it all feel very real, despite the film’s far-fetched premise. He works well with Ducommun and Dern, and the trio share a great chemistry as a group of over enthusiastic man-children.
Dante’s The ‘Burbs is a delicious black comedy which focuses on the residents of a small cul-de-sac of Mayfield Place in the fictional town of Hinkley Hills. Strange events soon lead them to believe that their new neighbours are murderers. Dante takes the rough premise of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window and filters it through a comedy/horror prism. This gives the film a unique tone, one which has helped it stay relevant for over a 30 years.
These images show Hanks, Joe Dante and co-star Bruce Dern on the set of the 1989 release. The ‘Burbs grossed $36 million at the US box-office and more than $41 million during its cinematic run.