Pippa (Sydney Sweeney) and Thomas (Justice Smith) are on cloud 9 in the new erotic thriller The Voyeurs. They are young, in love, and just moved into their dream apartment in downtown Montreal. How they can afford such an expansive loft is neither here nor there. Not only is the location fantastic, but the floor to ceiling windows are to die for. Pippa and Thomas soon discover that the view out of these windows is slightly different than they originally anticipated.
Their neighbors across the street Seb (Ben Hardy) and Julia (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) are quite the sight for sore eyes. Seb is a photographer and Julia a former model. The two of them are far from shy and are clearly big fans of natural light, always leaving their apartment viewable to the neighbors. Watching Seb and Julia becomes a daily activity for Pippa and Thomas. They create a narrative for the two of them and plot for ways to be able to pry into their lives further.
The fairytale life that Pippa and Thomas have created for their neighbors across the way comes crashing down when they see Seb having an affair. Seemingly every model that walks into the apartment for a photo shoot with Seb, doesn’t leave without some extracurricular activity. Thomas thinks things have gone too far while Pippa becomes more engrossed in Seb and Julia’s lives. Things become even more complicated when Pippa, an optometrist, is surprised by Julia at work. They end up going to a spa together and hitting it off. Pippa is torn between a new sense of obligation to tell Julia the truth, and Thomas begging her to stay out of it.
The Voyeurs is written and directed by Michael Mohan. The sub-genre of erotic thrillers isn’t one that is too prevalent, but The Voyeurs lives up to the name. Don’t overlook the term erotic, Mohan surely doesn’t. The Voyeurs has scenes that could be on Cinemax at 3 AM and is not for family movie nights. A clear nod to Rear Window, Mohan weaves in twists and turns as the narrative progresses. Eventually each one becomes more absurd than the last until they reach a breaking point, becoming unbelievable. That being said, the film doesn’t drag. The pacing is consistent throughout and manages to pull you in.
Mohan’s script is a tad uneven. A lot of aspects do work. Especially the perfect amount of humor. The humor helps dilute the awkwardness of the situation that Pippa and Thomas find themselves in. Their uncomfortable jokes contribute to the realism of the film and cause the characters to become more relatable. Given the complete lack of backstory or character development, these brief interactions help the audience care for them.
Mohan plays with the idea of the morality of voyeurism posing “if someone lets you watch, does it mean it’s the right thing to do?” As Pippa slips further into a borderline obsession, this idea continues to be at the forefront of The Voyeurs. The music and shots perfectly encapsulate Pippa’s mental wellbeing. From the light and uplifting score to start the film to the hypnotic, eerie, and echoey sounds that accompany her almost trancelike state. The Voyeurs will be a very polarizing film. Not only for its subject matter and delivery, but Mohan’s decision making. The turning point in the movie is divisive but sticks in your mind with a lot to unpack. The absurdity of the final few acts may sour some but be embraced and welcomed by others. The entertainment factor is there and sometimes that is simply enough.
The Voyeurs is available now on Amazon Prime Video.