April 14, 2024

THE VOYEURS (2021) – Exploitative thriller that makes us feel like the voyeurs

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Rating: ⭐⭐ 1/2

Sydney Sweeney and Justice Smith star in The Voyeurs

The Voyeurs starts off looking and feeling very like a Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window copycat and wannabe as we are introduced to a young couple moving in to their new apartment which overlooks the windows of the apartment directly opposite. Although the actual city in which the story takes place is never explicitly mentioned, this was filmed in Quebec, Canada. The young couple very quickly became addicted to spying on their neighbours, who appear to have a habit of leaving their curtains wide open while they go about copulating. Our inquisitive couple somehow gets themselves more and more involved with the lives of their neighbours across the building which naturally leads to something bad happening.

I struggle a bit in deciding whether I actually liked this movie or not. The first half of the movie was pretty bad. The script was dull and unimaginative, making the characters appear uninteresting. By around the mid way point I was already finding myself checking my watch and contemplating abandoning the movie which is uncharacteristic of me. Then something happen mid-way that made the whole premise seem more interesting. It almost felt like I was watching a different movie in the second half, which was in a good way. The turning point for me was the time when Sydney Sweeney’s character had her first face to face confrontation with her neighbour Seb played by Ben Hardy, in a neighbourhood bar. The conversation they had was strangely alluring and captivating. I think Ben Hardy did a fantastic job in this moment as all the while he had been appearing merely in the distance. Encountering him up close and listening to him speak gave his character a totally different dimension, and we could feel the immediate change and heightened risks in the level of involvement that our main character is taking on. From then on the movie bombards us with one twist after another, leading to its typical Hollywood conclusion and sick idea of what “justice” is.

The Voyeurs is not a great movie. You know it is bad but yet somehow it is compelling enough to make you continue to watch. Sort of like a guilty pleasure. Sydney Sweeney who was so brilliant in The White Lotus is less impressive here even though she definitely left an impression. I felt she was kind of exploited by the film makers. She had a rather sensational moment which makes the viewers feel like they are the real voyeurs rather than the characters on screen. Any movie that can turn the table around and do that to its audience can’t be all that bad.

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