Neither of the opposing sides in the debate on the experimental use of animals in the pharmaceuticals industry is likely to be pleased with “Animals,” an ultra low-budgeter about a trio of animals rights activists who kidnap a chemical company exec. Very routine staging and largely unconvincing performances make commercial prospects for this oddball item extremely doubtful. Only hope is ancillary.
Jade (Sheli Andrew) and Mona (Laura Patch), two young women filled with outrage at what they see as cruelty to animals, join forces with the unstable Charlie (Paul Conway), a drug addict mad at the world in general and at Hoxton Pharmaceuticals in particular. The trio kidnaps Hoxton marketing director Nic Robinson and imprisons him in a cage, injecting him with what the girls believe to be a harmless saline solution — but scheming Charlie proves to have another agenda. Meanwhile, Robinson’s deputy (Jon Hurn), his anguished wife (Caroline Dalton) and Scotland Yard detective Raj Kippur (Vimal Stephens) race, not very energetically, against time to save the imprisoned man. Arik Alon directs without much sense of urgency or insight a would-be contemporary thriller that conspicuously lacks both thrills and suspense.