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Film / Kiss the Girls

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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:

  • Adult Fear: Naomi's mother after her girl's gone missing.
  • 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".
  • Audible Sharpness: The sounds when Rudolph pulls out his knife to put it on Naomi's throat.
  • Bearer of Bad News: Kate when telling the Asian parents that their girl was in a coma.
  • Break the Cutie: From his Evil Gloating we learn that Casanova's motive was to break beautiful girls through endless torture and rape.
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  • Bunker Woman: Kate and the other victims are held in a Sealed Room in the Middle of Nowhere.
  • Car Fu: Kate drives her car into the path of Will Rudolph's to stop him escape. He manages to get away still.
  • 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.
  • Cue the Billiard Shot: The second scene at the night club where Casanova picks up a new victim is kicked off by a billiard shot.
  • Cut Phone Lines: The killer does it when coming by Kate's house in the finale.
  • Defiant Captive: Kate is this. Her braveness helps her escape. It is mentioned that other defiant bunker girls were offed by the villain as their strong-willedness triggered the Control Freak part in him.
  • Dramatic Slip: Kate trips multiple times when escaping from the bunker. Justified as she was off-balanced by drugs put in her sandwich.
  • Evidence Dungeon: The freezer they find at Will Rudolph's place with the newspaper clippings and dismembered feet.
  • The Faceless: The shot of Casanova sitting on his computer desk talking to his partner but we never get to see his face.
  • Famous Last Words: Casanova's line "Goodnight... sweet Sarah."
  • Groin Attack: How Kate disables the killer during the climactic kitchen fight.
  • 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.
  • I Work Alone: Cross doesn't want Kate to join him but gives in after she insists.
  • Jump Scare: When the villain kidnaps Kate from behind in her home.
  • Killer Cop: The villain turns out to be a police detective.
  • Madwoman in the Attic: The opening monologue describes a self-inflicted version of this: Casanova moves into the attic of the house where his "first love" lives.
  • Malevolent Masked Man: Casanova wears a quite sinister white theatrical mask.
  • No Escape but Down: During her escape from the villain, Kate has to decide whether to leap off a 150 foot waterfall or be recaptured. She takes the jump and gets away.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Kate has only a few brief scenes of her work as a doctor.
  • Post-Rape Taunt: Done twice to Cross. First in the interrogation room by Dr. Sachs and then in the finale by Casanova who taunts Cross how he molested his kidnapped niece for ten days purely to press his Relative Button. The first time around Cross loses his cool and attacks Sachs but in the second one he maintains his calculating demeanor long enough to defuse the Taking You with Me situation.
  • Repeat Cut: When Cross shoots the killer at the end, the moment is shown at least three times from different angles.
  • Serial Killer: And Serial Rapist. 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.
  • Sex Slave: Casanova keeps them.
  • 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.
  • Surprise Vehicle: When going after Rudolph at the forest, Cross doesn't hear the truck onrushing on the road until he stands right in front of it.
  • 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.
  • Talking Down the Suicidal: Cross does this early on to a woman who just shot her abusive partner.
  • Trap Door: Cross falls through one when pursuing Rudolph at the bunker.
  • Trophy Room: Will Rudolph's freezer has a feet collection.
  • Unbroken Vigil: Cross spends the whole night at Kate's bed at the hospital.
  • Unfamiliar Ceiling: Casanova played with it. When Kate wakes up after her kidnapping, she looks up to see her dreamcatcher hanging from the ceiling but on further glance the ceiling turns out not to be her home's.


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