Kiss the Girls

Seems the world can’t get enough of serial killer thrillers, no matter the decade. In the 90s, Morgan Freeman hit a home run in David Fincher’s Se7en, and would be offered many of its ilk in the following years. Whether business decision or serendipity, Freeman would be cast as Alex Cross, a detective/forensic psychologist character from a James Patterson series of novels. Of course, I, like many others, flocked to see him hunt down another bad guy with great interest. Did it stack up?

" solid, serviceable thriller"

Alex Cross is dragged into a serial case when his own niece is abducted. The perpetrator, a man calling himself Casanova, has been abducting a bountiful supply of young women and some of them are started to turn up dead. Another, Kate McTiernan (Ashley Judd), is the latest to be abducted but is the first to successfully escape. She gives the cops more information than ever before, revealing she was one of many trapped by the killer. Working with Kate, Cross starts to piece together the puzzle of who Casanova is, but his unconventional methods are not welcomed by local PD, especially after a sting goes horribly wrong. But there is more to their wrong suspect than mistaken identity. Can Alex and Kate figure it out before it’s too late?

This is a solid, serviceable thriller. Patterson wrote plenty of Alex Cross novels, so you would hope for the best in an adaptation, (but the sequel is another story). Of course, Morgan Freeman could star in a movie about watching grass grow and I’d be there. Having played Sommerset in Se7en, his Cross comes off, perhaps unfairly, as a touch derivative. Both are patient, intelligent and weathered investigators. This is not to say he doesn’t do an excellent job, but only a few years after his turn as a detective in an instant classic, this seemed a little samey to me. Ashley Judd is a competent co-lead and has an arc that satisfies. Won’t go into the killer but he’s played by a mainstay actor and is excellent in his ‘reveal’ scene. The ‘red herring’ douchebag with a thing for feet is also stellar, played by Ghost bad guy, Tony Goldwyn.Kiss the Girls

The pacing in this one is decent. The music is serviceable. It’s a good-looking picture, handling shadows and atmosphere very well. All around you have top drawer talent, giving their all and (for the most part) delivering a decent thriller. Can’t fault it, it just didn’t wow me as much as I’d hoped. The draw here for me, and forever, is Morgan Freeman. He’s so good, even his ‘good’ performances can seem underwhelming compared to his long list of triumphs. (Wonderful problem to have!)

Kiss the Girls is worth your time, no question. It is unfortunately lumbered by being from the same decade as Silence of the Lambs and Se7en. It isn’t anywhere near the quality of those, but I would rope it into the good thriller pile. I didn’t peg who the killer was until the reveal and have rewatched this film plenty over the last 25 years or so since it came out.

3/5 stars

Kiss the Girls

4k details divider

4K Ultra HD + Digital

Home Video Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Available on Blu-ray
- September 12, 2023
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
: English; English SDH
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 4K Ultra HD; single disc
Region Encoding: 4K region-free; playback


Solid 2160p native scan from Paramount. Handles the many dark scenes with no trouble. Grain is consistent throughout with very little signs of artefacts or damage. The forest scenes and candlelight benefit the most from Dolby VISION/HDR10 enhancements. The colour palette seems faithful, with consistent flesh tones and details. If this had been given just a teeny bit more clean-up, it’s a perfect job. As it stands, it’s great.


Terrific DTS-HD 5.1 mix from previous releases (I’m certain). For an older mix, this has serious heft, especially in base and atmospherics. There is targeted and clean environmental channel use and fine and centred clear dialogue. If you’ve read any of my reviews, you know (broken record) I think all 4K native scan should come with new ATMOS 7.1 mixes, but they didn’t spring for it in this case. It’s still an excellent mix though.



  • None

Special Features:

Big fat zero. No effort made. Nada. Zero. None

4k rating divider

  Movie 3/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 0/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

3/5 stars

Film Details

Kiss the Girls

MPAA Rating: R.
115 mins
: Gary Fleder
James Patterson; David Klass
Morgan Freeman; Ashley Judd; Cary Elwes
: Crime | Thriller
A detective is searching for a deadly collector. His only hope is the woman who got away.
Memorable Movie Quote: "He's Don Juan on one side and Josef Mengele on the other."
Theatrical Distributor:
Paramount Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
October 3, 1997
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
September 12, 2023.
Synopsis: From the Deep South to the California coast and back, the hunt is on in this provocative race-against-time suspenser based on the best-selling novel by James Patterson. Ashley Judd plays resourceful, strong-willed McTiernan. She's the lone escapee from a mad man's hidden lair and is determined to rescue the fellow captives she left behind. Morgan Freeman is Alex Cross, a master at solving the unsolvable. But there's more than his reputation at stake: This time one of the victims is his niece.


Kiss the Girls