Every single review of The Voyeurs will most likely start by likening it to a combination of Rear Window and Fatal Attraction, or any other erotic thriller. Whilst this is an irritatingly repetitive trend, it’s not without reason, as the film rests almost entirely on the laurels of its influences.
This new offering from writer-director Michael Mohan stars Justice Smith and Sydney Sweeney as a young couple who move in across the street from another couple and soon become absorbed in their life.
It is clear from the off that the flick is drawing heavily from other directors, from Hitchcock to David Fincher. The slow, sultry tone of the latter is combined with the mysterious atmosphere and reliance on twists of the former. The issue is that The Voyeurs never manages to really escape the shadow of its predecessors, feeling more like an imitation than something that can stand on its own two feet.
The first major setback is that the characters feel shallow and poorly conceived, which is a shame, because Sweeney and Smith are clearly excellent actors. Many of the decisions taken by the protagonists feel determined by plot convenience, rather than their own intentions, and the result is sure to leave many viewers screaming at their screens in frustration. This is not helped by dialogue that feels badly devised and attempts to be relevant with cringe-inducing results.
The second problem is that the plot isn’t much to write home about, despite its attempts to keep the viewer guessing. There is a considerable dependence on atmosphere and eroticism to keep scenes moving, but many of those moments feel somewhat heavy-handed and come off as more of a crutch than a device necessary to the narrative. Further, The Voyeurs pretends to tackle wider issues, acting as a social commentary, but weak nature of the plot does this side of the production no favours, however, and results in a message that fails to stick the landing.
It must be said that The Voyeurs does move at a brisk pace and provides some thrills. It’s just a shame that the end result is less edge-of-your-seat and more slumped-and-asleep.
The Voyeurs is released on Amazon Prime Video on 10th September 2021.
Watch the trailer for The Voyeurs here: