Film / Kiss the Girls

Kiss the Girls is a 1997 psychological thriller film directed by Gary Fleder and starring Morgan Freeman as African-American psychologist Alex Cross. It is an adaptation of the 1995 novel of the same name by James Patterson.

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 collectors, 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.

This film provides examples of:

  • Alone with the Psycho: Inverted. An officer is visiting one of the victims and reveals himself to be the serial rapist/killer just as Cross 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 is actually named Casanova, a "collector" who builds a modern day harem of kidnapped women. Subverted since Kate's doctor points out that the bad guy obviously 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.
  • Malevolent Masked Man: Casanova wears a quite sinister white theatrical mask.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Kate has only a few brief scenes of her work as a doctor.
  • Post-Rape Taunt: In the finale Casanova taunts Alex Cross how he molested his kidnapped niece for ten days purely to press his Relative Button. However, Cross maintains his calculating demeanor long enough to defuse the Taking You with Me situation.
  • Serial Killer: Casanova is a sexual sadist who kidnaps women, locks them up in an underground dungeon deep in the woods so he can molest them repeatedly. He kills the ones who break his "rules" by tying them to a tree to die of starvation and exposure.
  • 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 but is considerably banged up.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: At the climax of the film, the killer tries to rape Kate, 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.
  • Taking You with Me: Near the end Casanova attacks Kate in her own house and tries to rape her, but she successfully fights him off. He tears out the gas tubes in her kitchen and grabs a lighter so he can off them both, but Cross arrives on the scene and manages distract Casanova long enough to kill him safely.