The Voyeurs is a dark, brooding film—dark because the lighting is pretty bad, brooding for the sole purpose of...brooding.
Pippa (Sydney Sweeney) and her boyfriend Thomas (Justice Smith) are over the moon about their awful loft apartment in downtown Montreal. As they settle in, the bright lights of the apartment opposite their unit capture their attention, and the couple discovers the sex life of their neighbors on display. These neighbors curiously never bother to close their curtains even though they bloody well have them. And so, of course, curiosity blooms into obsession for Pippa and Thomas and, like any good obsessed-with-my-neighbor film, the obsession turns down a dark, disturbing path—again, dark because you have to strain your eyes to see.
As an erotic thriller, The Voyeurs is rarely either erotic or thrilling. Director Michael Mohan cited similar features like Rear Window and Body Double as inspirations for his directorial debut (Mohan also penned the script), a pretty obvious statement if you’ve seen those movies. Mohan’s dedication to this tribute means The Voyeurs is not as bad as it could be, though that’s really more about Hitchcock and DePalma being masterful than it is about Mohan paying homage.
Smith, bless him, does his best to be charismatic here, while Sweeney forces every line, giggle and breath as if to tell us “I went to acting school!” She’s woefully miscast and far too genteel in her vocals and expressions to make Pippa worth watching for two hours.
Even so, an unexpected twist in the third act holds up well, at least until you spend a few minutes thinking about it. It’s a reminder Mohan’s film wavers between serious and campy without ever meaningfully claiming either territory. Instead, it promotes itself as super-serious when the screenplay pulls the shooting style in another direction.
Mercifully, nothing here is a matter of being outright bad, but more of a collection of misguided directorial decisions. If there’s one silver lining to The Voyeurs, it’s that it’ll inspire you to turn those other movies on instead, Jimmy Stewart and all.
+ Keeps chugging along
- Drags; lighting too dark; establishes then lacks camp
Directed by Mohan
With Sweeney, Smith and Ben Hardy
Amazon Prime, 116 min