Sydney Sweeney in Michael Mohan’s The Voyeurs
© Amazon Studios

“Just because someone is allowing you to look in on their lives, doesn’t mean it’s okay to watch.”

As movie theaters continue to permanently stay open, and studios are now confident in sending their films back to be viewed on the big screen, the lack of interesting new releases being sent straight to streaming services is becoming less. Amazon’s newest original, The Voyeurs, is one of those few — if you can call it interesting, more so new — films being sent straight to streaming. If you’ve ever left a film wondering “what have I just watched,” then you know what you’re getting into with The Voyeurs.

In an attempt at a thought-provoking erotic thriller, much like those from the 1980s, this lustful narrative stems from the point of its innocent characters, Pippa (Sydney Sweeney) and Thomas (Justice Smith). We first meet this young couple who move into their first apartment together — showered in the glow of this new chapter they’re about to take on. Pippa is an optometrist, having recently graduated from Medical School; Thomas is taking the musician route, which has led him to providing music to those conventional pharmaceutical commercials. Their relationship is a little vanilla, especially the more “intimate parts,” if you know what I mean. But luckily they’ve come across some new entertainment in the form of their naughty neighbors across the street. The neighbors don’t mind putting on a show of erotic nature for Pippa and Thomas to see, and boy do they get consumed by the lives of their new neighbors. With sex, lies, and cheating, Pippa and Thomas find themselves going further down a rabbit hole, eventually unable to climb out.

The Voyeurs can rival even the cheesiest Lifetime thriller, as it’s a cacophony of “huh?” moments from start to finish. There are many things that frustrate me about how one thing leads to another. It wants to slowly take the viewer through the story by revealing the twists and turns that are going on in Pippa and Thomas’ lives as they so easily become consumed by spying on their neighbors. There are a few surprises that can be viewed as creative but, for the most part, the story is boring and predictable. Even with that, however, the majority of surprises aren’t even mysterious; they’re just plain outrageous.

With a cast of actors that all have that “where do I know them from” face, it doesn’t do any favors to help their rising star. Sydney Sweeney and Justice Smith, both in their 20s, have recently been type cast as high schoolers — a tough hole to climb out from. Wanting to branch out from those roles, I can see why they’ve taken such a hard right in the other direction. In regard to this film, I can’t say it’s hindered Sweeney’s chances with future performances. She does have Euphoria, White Lotus, and Handmaid’s Tale to fall back on. But as for Smith, his character Thomas is odd and, at times, completely frustrating. It’s the indecisiveness of characters that fail to make me like them or feel sorry for them, and Thomas checks all those boxes. As for Pippa, she’s more straightforward in her actions and suffers whatever consequences comes because of them.

When all is said and done, The Voyeurs is another young-adult flick that’s all look and no substance. It gives the vibe of a Twilight or 50 Shades of Gray. It wants to be serious in its storytelling, but in the end, it’s just another bunch of young-adult mush. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that this was somehow based on fan-fiction. Now we know why it’s gone straight to streaming.

The Voyeurs

Written and Directed by: Michael Mohan

Starring: Sydney Sweeney, Justice Smith, Ben Hardy, and Natasha Liu Bordizzo

Rating: D