The 'Burbs review

Deep in sleepy suburbia, Ray (Tom Hanks) and his neighbours begin to wonder if the recent (foreign) arrivals in their cul-de-sac are up to no good. Egged on by his friends' fanciful imaginations, the sight of people digging holes in the middle of the night and some strange noises from their basement, Ray is soon investigating the possibility that his neighbours are serial murderers. Is he right, or has a lifetime of small-town living turned him paranoid?

Joe Dante's 1989 darkly comic tale has gained a cult following over the years. Insanely funny but shot through with a macabre sensibility, it's note-perfect. Everything, from Hanks' portrayal of a man descending into madness to the expert pacing and tense, explosive finale, impresses. The sort of movie that Hollywood should make more often...

Picture: Exclusively restored at 2K by Arrow for this lavish Blu-ray release, and with the approval of Joe Dante, The 'Burbs' 1.85:1 image looks pretty decent considering its vintage, although the picture will seem a little muted compared to contemporary fare.

Colours saunter out, rather than pop from the screen. It's also rather grainy – in some scenes, such as the get-to-know-you session in the Klopek's dimly-lit living room, distractingly so. However, there's still a sharpness to the image that teases out the details in the set design and characters faces, and it's clean, without any noticeable print damage or dirt.
Picture rating: 3.5/5

Audio: Nothing more fancy here than uncompressed stereo, which works well with Jerry Goldsmith's original score and the quiet, relaxed nature of the film's daytime scenes. A surround mix, to add to some of the film's energetic set-pieces, wouldn't go amiss, though.
Audio rating: 3.5/5

Extras: This is where fans are truly rewarded. Arrow's single-platter release includes Dante's personal Workprint of the movie (sourced from VHS, never released before), accompanied by a featurette discussing the differences between the two versions, with commentary from the director. Both are well worth a watch.

Even better is the fabulously in-depth Making of... doc (66 minutes), plus a new commentary for the theatrical release with writer Dana Olsen guided by critic Calum Waddell, a format that keeps the information ticking over. Also offered is the (inferior) alternate ending (in HD), and the original trailer.

Bundled with both the £25 Deluxe release and £28 limited edition steelbook version (with updated cover art) is a 30-page booklet. All told, there's plenty to savour here.
Extras rating: 4/5

We say: A brilliant comedy given a brilliant Blu-ray release. Brilliant!

The ‘Burbs, Arrow Video, Region B BD, £25/£28 Approx