Balaban's grisly feature debut deals with both the stultifying bad-taste conformism of Eisenhower's America and the theme of mutual distrust between adults and offspring, and turns them into the stuff of everyday horror. Nick and Lily Laemle (Quaid an td Hurt) are new arrivals in a small Indiana town; everything about their life together stresses their normality. If there is a fly in the ointment, it's their young son Michael (Madorsky), a moody, introspective brat who has macabre fantasies derived from his horrific Oedipal nightmares. As the film progresses, however, we come to wonder whether it's the adults, rather than the progeny, who are loopy and cruel...If the film finally fails to shock or surprise, it's nevertheless both imaginatively shot and wittily scripted, and strikes a nice balance between gentle parody and a queasy unease associated with bona fide genre suspense. Superior performances by Quaid, Hurt and Madorsky.