Written by: Michael Mohan
Starring: Sydney Sweeney, Justice Smith, Ben Hardy, Natasha Liu Bordizzo
With an open window providing the opportunity to peek, humans find themselves at their most curious. The opportunity to get a glimpse inside the lives of others with some distance for safety. Something that becomes irresistible to partake in and drives the plot of the erotic thriller, Voyeurs. A film attempting to paint a sadistic situation but ultimately fails all throughout and ultimately begins with the casting.
Pippa (Sydney Sweeney) and Thomas (Justice Smith) move into a brand new apartment together as they see this as the next chapter in their lives together. They did not, however, expect to have a direct sightline into a couple across the street. What begins as a curiosity, especially when having the ability to watch the couple have sex, then becomes an obsession.
When painting the picture of a couple who may be sexually stilted and you cast Sydney Sweeney as one of the two, it’s just never going to work out. Not only because of her looks but particularly the age she’s meant to portray in this feature. The same goes with Justice Smith. These two are meant to be individuals who barely touch each other until the exhibitionist nature of the couple they watch lights something up. A dynamic that just does not work with the two actors brought together to portray them. As this film progresses it just distracts from the overall tone trying to be set, but it only gets worse when having to listen to Justice Smith do whatever speech pattern he attempts here. It makes it all feel a bit unrealistic, which never truly should be a requirement for an erotic thriller. However, as mentioned before, it becomes such a huge distraction that it ultimately takes away from the intriguing elements it attempts to explore.
Aside from the misguided casting, this feature just goes in absolutely absurd directions with the way the plot transpires. It definitely goes for intense shock value as any erotic thriller would attempt to do but the way it builds up what comes next never really feels earned. Instead, you’ll just be left scratching your head at the absolute absurdity of this circumstance before throwing your hands in the air in complete disbelief at what actually transpires. Couple that with the ending of the feature and you have a truly unfortunate plot decision bringing down what ultimately could have resulted in a very intriguing story overall. It’s almost hilariously bad in that aspect.
One thing it certainly accomplishes is putting the erotic in the erotic thriller. Utilizing their good-looking cast to its advantage, this film adequately builds up the sexual interactions of the characters. From the initial innocent viewing to where the film eventually goes, this feature understands the sexual desires of these characters and how much they want to get off. It makes for the thrilling aspects not to live up to what the erotic is doing but at the very least, this feature delivers on one aspect of the genre.
Along with other voyeuristic features, this film really nails the undying curiosity humans have of watching others especially when the subjects have no idea. From viewing inside someone’s window to people watching out in the street, there’s some inherent intrigue humans have in trying to view others in their natural habitats. In the same way, we like to watch nature documentaries in order to see how animals interact in an uncontrolled environment. These instances display humans as their most comfortable and horrible as all of the natural blockers placed on the outside come tumbling down. It allows for a level of depravity to show itself unapologetically and this feature has absolutely no problems indulging in this idea even to its own detriment in the end.
Filled with plenty of promise, but let down by various aspects, Voyeurs just never had a puncher’s chance. From the lack of actual thrilling moments to a cast that just did not fit the bill for what the feature wanted to convey about sexuality. Yes, they chose good-looking actors, but their ages come nowhere close to exemplifying anything that could be naturally sold through the narrative. Truly a shame as Sydney Sweeney did her best in this role, but ultimately in service of something beneath her.