Kiss or Kill

A woman off camera explains how she has difficulty trusting people, especially men, because of things she saw when she was young. This comment introduces a prologue in which a little girl watches helplessly as a man (Syd Brisbane), presumably her father, appears at the door, douses her mother with petrol and sets her alight.

The young girl, now a woman in her twenties, is Nikki Davies (Frances O’Connor). Nikki and her boyfriend, Al Fletcher (Matt Day), are small-time criminals who target married businessmen. Nikki picks up a charmless patent attorney in a bar and accompanies him back to his room where she slips something in his drink. The man passes out, Nikki lets Al into the room and they begin casing it for valuables.

Then things start to go wrong. Al discovers their mark is not merely unconscious but dead. They flee the scene but back at their place the situation gets more complicated. A video in the patent attorney’s briefcase features a famous ex-footballer, Zipper Doyle, engaged in pedophilia. Enraged, Nikki leaves an abusive message on the answering machine at Doyle’s gym. Meanwhile, Al fast-forwards to the next scene in the video. Doyle is with a woman who looks disconcertingly similar to Nikki.

At the break of day, the lovers depart Adelaide, setting out across the Nullabor Plain for Perth. Soon they are being pursued by Doyle – who wants his tape back – as well as the police. That night they stop at a motel in the middle of nowhere, run by a lonely eccentric by the name of Stan (Max Cullen). Stan’s attempts at hospitality backfire when Nikki’s shirt catches alight over a dinner of fondue. This incident and a sleepwalking episode later that night not only underscore the lovers’ precarious situation but also serve as reminders of Nikki’s horrible past.

At a truck stop the next morning, Nikki overhears that Stan has been murdered. She demands to see Al’s wallet and finds it stuffed full of cash. Al insists he only robbed Stan. Back on the road, the couple become aware that they are being followed. Al realises it’s Zipper Doyle and veers off-road. Doyle fires at them and chases after in pursuit. Fortunately for Nikki and Al, Doyles’ Jaguar can’t manage the territory their 4WD can.

Pulling over to get their bearings, they make a bizarre discovery. Adler Jones (Barry Otto) has been hiding in the boot. While Al is on the verge of attacking Adler, Nikki is persuaded by Adler’s offer of help. Adler suggests the couple stay at his place nearby (amusingly located in a former nuclear testing site). When they arrive and meet Adler’s wife Bel (Jennifer Cluff), Al acknowledges the apparent wisdom of Nikki’s instinct to trust Adler.

The next morning Nikki discovers Adler and Bel dead in their beds, their throats cut. Al appears and knocks Nikki out. Evidently he has decided Nikki must be committing the murders – only semi-consciously in her sleep – and ties her up at a safe-house. It is here that the police finally catch up with the couple. However, after a night in a cell a strange lawyer turns up and organises bail. He drives the bemused lovers to a motel where he instructs them to wait. Suddenly Zipper Doyle appears and forces them at gun-point to get into his car.

By now the police have discovered Doyle’s participation in a pedophilia ring and are pursuing him as well as Nikki & Al. When Doyle sees a road-block he begins issuing commands to Nikki who is in the driver’s seat. Nikki ignores him and drives straight into the road-block. Doyle is killed in the crash, the lovers are only wounded. In a concluding voice-over Nikki explains who was responsible for the murders on the road and how they got off for the death of the patent-attorney (always wipe your prints and only target pedophiles).