The Voyeurs (2021)
An erotic thriller where curiosity turns into full-blown obsession.
The Voyeurs (2021) by Michael Mohan is a sexy, modern erotic film that serves as a love letter to the trashy thrillers of the ’80s – and one of voyeurism’s best advocates: Alfred Hitchcock. It follows protagonists Pippa (Sydney Sweeny) and Thomas (Justice Smith), a young couple who move into a new loft with a perfect view into the apartment across the street. The movie begins as they quickly become obsessed with the eccentric lives of their neighbours Seb (Ben Hardy) and Julia (Natalia Liu Bordizzo).
The Voyeurs is possibly one of the best allegories for society’s obsession with beauty and modern voyeurism. The introduction of camera phones and social media platforms like Instagram makes it easier for us to peer into the window of someone else’s life and make assumptions. Mohan’s film does a fantastic job of setting up this concept when he introduces the audience to neighbours Seb and Julia through the eyes of Pippa, our morally grey protagonist. But unfortunately, we, as the audience, cannot interact or learn much about Seb and Julia, until Pippa and Thomas decide to crossover into their world.
Mohan’s strategic use of sex and intimacy in the film also sets it apart from other attempts to revive the sub-genre. Sex is crucial in creating the erotic thriller. Where movies like The Boy Next Door (Rob Cohen, 2015) use it for eye candy, Mohan uses sex as an essential narrative element; without it, Pippa’s actions don’t have the same effect. Seb and Julia are treated like sexual objects for Pippa’s entertainment, and with every sexual encounter she sees, her desire to be in their world grows.
The film challenges us as viewers to be content with our lives instead of wanting something else. We can credit Mohan’s The Voyeurs as an excellent example of how erotic thrillers can evolve and cater to the modern problems we experience now, especially with the resurgence in popularity of the angsty late ’90s and early 2000s thrillers and horror cinema.
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