While it doesn't surpass Matinee, Joe Dante's The Burbs is playful, charming, and satirical. The mix of these three elements makes for a comforting viewing, despite the cannibals next door. On can imagine yourself on a Sunday evening with your family watching this movie. It truly has something for everyone.
The Burbs takes place in Suburbia where Tom Hank's Ray Peterson has just taken a week off work. And now he's antsy. Lucky for him, the new neighbours are acting mighty suspicious. They don't mow their lawn or wax their car. They do, however, dig graves in the middle of the night. Spurred on by his neighbours (Bruce Dern, Rick Ducommun) and scalded by his wife (Carrie Fisher), Ray lifts the green turf of suburbia to find a dark underbelly of bones!
The films light tone compliments the horror tropes perfectly. There are many moments where you can imagine Joe Dante and the cast laughing their slippers off, particularly one moment which feels like an outtake. The child inside enjoys the laughter. The film buff tuts at perhaps a poor editing choice. I also found the slapstick humour wrangled the film into the childs play pen rather than letting it roam into the horror pastures. Just thinking about what this film would've looked like at a 15 rating rather than a 12 makes me sigh a little. But, for what is presented, The Burbs is enjoyable family entertainment.