‘The Voyeurs’ Review: Unraves Spectacularly Morally and Narratively
The Voyeurs on Amazon is a Gen Z-centric version of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, a film that millennials have attempted to reimagine with Disturbia in 2007. While that film did a fantastic job of portraying the anguish that defined an entire age, The Voyeurs’ sexual stylings and slightly trashy European atmosphere keep it from being more than what it is — a sub-par morality story about mass-dependence on technology.
After seeing the film’s opening sequence, in which the titles play overviews of irises (get it?) and a seductive Sydney Sweeney striding down the street with synth music screaming in the background, you might wonder if you’ve accidentally turned on an episode of Euphoria. Her sudden popularity as a sex icon for youngsters who spend their after-school hours twerking on Reels is exploited in the film. But, unsure what to do with Sweeney’s marvelously enigmatic aura, The Voyeurs builds to a climactic stretch in which she is effectively cornered into shedding her clothing.
Sweeney and Justice Smith portray Pippa and Thomas, two 20-somethings who move into a magnificent studio apartment in an unspecified European city and are immediately drawn to the wealthy couple who live across the street. Pippa and Thomas and their next-door neighbors, whom they have given fictitious names, do not appear to be of voting age. So how they can afford such opulent living quarters at their age beyond me. Maybe they’re supposed to be older than they appear? Who knows, but I couldn’t help but feel like I saw one of those Flipkart commercials with kids portraying aunts and aunties.
Pippa and Thomas are already spying on the couple next door before they’ve even eaten their first supper in their new home. Things grow stranger when Pippa realizes she enjoys it. Thomas conveniently recalls that he has the technical abilities to eavesdrop on the neighbors’ talks by inventing a device that shoots invisible beams across the street or something.
While Pippa and Thomas’ questionable hobby grows more intense by night, writer-director Michael Mohan flatly refuses to delve under the surface of their activities’ moral consequences. Sure, we’re interested in what’s going on in the lives of our neighbors; the guy looks to be cheating on his wife, and she appears to be ignorant. However, after a specific time, any reasonable viewer would throw their hands and proclaim that Pippa and Thomas have over the line. And, sure enough, it affects their connection.
Even with a pair of binoculars in your hands, you won’t detect any evidence of sensible human beings in Pippa and Thomas’ position. The film’s flaws are apparent: the protagonists are creeps, and the people they’re spying on are dull; there’s no way you’ll care about any of them. Nonetheless, despite its infantile treatment of significant issues, the picture is exceptionally risqué in its closing minutes. But it’s all in shambles.
Pippa’s reasons may be odd, but they are established. However, it is not immediately obvious why Thomas continues to amuse her. He starts having second thoughts about their nightly eavesdropping sessions. Finally, He has such a dramatic outburst to an activity he gladly partakes in seconds before that you wonder if he’s a secret crazy.
As it turns out, The Voyeurs contains several psychos, but Thomas is not one of them. However, this is dependent on your definition of a psycho. The film is plainly on another planet entirely when it comes to such differences. It unravels so spectacularly in its closing minutes — both morally and narratively — that you despair at what someone with Paul Verhoeven’s sarcastic eye could have discovered in this story.
The Voyeurs yearns to be compared to the sexual thrillers of the 1990s, but it seldom lives up to their standards.