Review: Sexy love affair never gains steam in twisty 'The Voyeurs'
Courtesy of Amazon Prime
Borrowing a few shades from Alfred Hitchock’s “Rear Window,” and a nod to the erotica thrillers of the mid to late nineties, Michael Mohan’s steamy “The Voyeurs” has some tricks up its sleeves, but this sexy escapade brings little tension to the bedroom. There’s reasons why eroticia films from “Poison Ivy,” and “Basic Instinct” to “Wild Things” and “Cruel Intentions,” have sustained themselves over the years; it’s their ability to offer a semblance of shock value, while also keeping audiences on edge. The subtle peak into the cinematic sex lives of those on screen, like it or not, is a fascinating exploration. We love what we can’t have.
Such wonderment and fascination happens occasionally throughout “The Voyeurs” which sees Sydney Sweeney (“Euphoria” and “The White Lotus”) bearing it all alongside Justice Smith (“Detective Pikachu” and “Paper Towns”). They play Pippa and Thomas, a young couple recently moved into an elegant, nicely furnished loft in the upper west side of New York City. As fate would have it, the couple across the street seem to have a similar setup, although the plexiglass windows are never shuttered, allowing Pippa and Thomas a front row seat to their intimate rendezvous.
The sex crazed couple’s names, we eventually find out, are Sebastian (Ben Hardy) and Julia (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) and they like to bang. Often. Pippa and Thomas can’t stop watching and it briefly improves their own love life before spiraling into a crazed obsession. Pippa is engulfed in Sebastian’s career as a photographer, where he often and conveniently brings sexy, barely clothed women back to his pad for “work” while Julia’s out and seduces them. The sex scenes are intense, but they lack flavor. There’s something unengaging about two good looking people just, I dunno, going through the motions. Where’s the passion?
One wonders what someone more skilled in this field might have done with the material-think Paul Verhoeven or Brian De Palma-but “The Voyeurs” manages a few decent stingers, including a solid third act revelation, except the energy of the finale never matches that of the entire movie. The direction is fine, everything is lit and framed in a competent manner, and Sweeney, for as gorgeous, talented, and sexy as she is, tries her darndest to wrap her head around the silly screenplay. You might walk away briefly satisfied as the credits roll, but you’ll soon realize the climax wasn’t worth the effort.
THE VOYEURS debuts on Amazon Prime Video Friday, September 10th.