THE VOYEURS (2021) is an alluring erotic thriller heightened by Sydney Sweeney’s presence

In The Voyeurs, a young couple move into their dream apartment and immediately realise they can see into the apartment of their neighbours across the street. Very soon, they find themselves getting more invested in the lavish lifestyle of these neighbours to the point where innocent curiosity turns into a dangerous obsession.

The erotic thriller genre is one that’s been largely forgotten since it was in its prime through the 90s. Rarely any films that fit the niche genre are released nowadays, and even when one does come along – it’s usually pretty sub-par and doesn’t make much of an impact. The Voyeurs may be the first one in a while to breathe some fresh air into the genre with a final product that’s a pretty successful blend of thrills and eroticism. It’s an overall pretty decent thrill ride with well-orchestrated tension, twists and turns throughout the movie that I certainly didn’t see coming. It does well to quickly get you invested in the lead characters so that it can kick right into some thrilling moments, and sex scenes, almost immediately.

There’s this sense of growing tension that’s handled quite well, like a pressure cooker being pushed to its limits. However, this pressure is released at one point towards the end of the second act. There’s one key point where it begins to lose its way and seems to abandon that blend of thrills and eroticism that was working so well. This chunk of the film takes on the erotic elements fully while almost entirely dropping the tension – leading to a drop in quality and lack of intrigue in where the narrative is heading. However, this lull in the narrative is made up for thanks to what develops in the final act of the film. Overall, it ends up being pretty well-rounded in satisfyingly representing everything you expect to see from the genre – which is more than I expected.

When it comes to the performances, the presence of Sydney Sweeney is without the doubt the only reason I decided to check out this movie. Without her face on the poster, I don’t go anywhere near this film. She’s a talented actress who I’ve loved in Everything Sucks! (2018) and this year’s The White Lotus. Without fail, she acts her heart out in every scene, elevating the tension brilliantly well. It’s not the most emotionally-demanding role, but she has a huge impact on the emotional weight of a few key scenes and is very convincing. Alongside Sydney, Justice Smith is also quite good. It seems like he’s lurking in the shadows of her performance, but there’s a couple of moments where he really brings out the acting chops. The two make a great pairing that has you really rooting for them as characters.

I will mention that as well-executed much of the story is, there’s a couple of odd scenes that feel slapped together to push the plot in a certain direction and brief moments of wonky dialogue. These scenes are usually pretty short-lived and don’t leave a huge mark on the film, but they’re present. For instance, there’s one specific scene in a bar that is an all-round poorly written scene – from its setup to its execution and the dialogue. Thankfully, the positives do outweigh any negatives.

In the end, The Voyeurs is successful in what it sets out to achieve. The erotic scenes are plentiful, serving their purpose quite well, and the thriller aspects work to create some lasting tension. The execution of the third act isn’t as neat or refined as the rest of the movie, coming across as slightly rushed, and there’s a couple slapped together scenes that aren’t amazing. With that, I’d say it’s an overall imperfect yet still enjoyable film. Led by a great Sydney Sweeney performance, there’s certainly fun to be had with this one. It’s a rare appearance of an erotic thriller and it proves that maybe there’s still interesting stories to be told within the genre.

6.6/10

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