Kiss the Girls
is the name of a 1995 psychological thriller novel by James Patterson
and of a 1997 film adaptation of the novel. Both feature African-American psychologist Alex Cross
as the main character. The film was directed by Gary Fleder. It cast Morgan Freeman
The main plot involves the parallel trails of action of two kidnappers, the "Casanova" of North Carolina and the "Gentleman Caller" of California. Both are responsible for the disappearances of numerous women. A few are actually killed. The rest are held in long-term captivity, for their abductors' sadomasochistic pleasure.
Cross is involved when his niece Naomi (Gina Ravera) becomes the latest missing victim in North Carolina. Cross joins forces with Kate Mc Tiernan (Ashley Judd), the only recent victim who managed to escape on her own. The two have to find out the way the two criminals are connected and discover their identity before more victims are taken.
The film received mixed reviews. While certain critics felt it maintained the creepy atmosphere and solid dialogue of the novel, others noted that it failed to include the psychological depth of the original. The complex motivations of the villains were not included in the adaptation. Nevertheless, the film was a modest box office success. It managed to earn $60,527,873 in the United States market and at least other $24,500,000 in international markets. It was the 28th most profitable film of its year.
This film provides examples of;
- Alone with the Psycho: Inverted. The officer is visiting one of the victims and reveals himself to be the serial rapist/killer just as another detective is putting the pieces together back at the station. The killer manages to cut the victim's phone line just before the other detective tries to call.
- Anonymous Killer Narrator: The movie starts with a voiceover by Casanova explaining his first twisted "relationship".
- The Casanova: The main villain of Kiss The Girls is actually named Casanova, a criminal who builds a modern day harem of kidnapped women.
- Subverted somewhat when Kate's doctor says the bad guy doesn't know his history as the real Casanova would never have approved of his brutality toward women.
- Hospital Hottie: Kate's a doctor.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: Does this with several women at once. The film's portrayal of Casanova stroking Kate's face and body while whispering in her ear really adds a major note of "creepy" to an already psychotic character.
- Softspoken Sadist: Casanova's voice is very deep and smooth. It's also incredibly unnerving.
- Soft Water: Subverted. Desperate to escape from the killer, Kate jumps over a waterfall. She survives (in all fairness, the height may not have been enough to kill her), but is considerably banged up. It's subverted even further in the book, where she's severely injured and out of commission for the rest of the novel.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: At the climax of the film, the killer tries to rape the heroine, who had escaped from his clutches earlier in the movie. Playing in the background is a raucous, upbeat version of the song "Irene Goodnight". This trope might even be played twice, as the lyrics, with allusions to murder and suicide, are far too dark for the manner in which the song is sung.