I've mentioned this before: I'm not a big fan of animal death in film. That being said, I'm fine with it when it's necessary (and not a 20-tissue family film). I love pit bulls, but the bodies in No Country for Old Men made chilling sense. As did the dog death in Watchmen, or rat devastation in Willard or Wanted, or the strange, horse-head humor of My Winnipeg. If I can give the death a point, it's a-ok.
But then there's The Ring -- a film that creeped the crap out of me in the best way, but became quickly tainted when the horse went nuts. I get the fact that Naomi Watts scared the horse into insanity. I even get it jumping overboard. But instead of being a chilling moment, it was made into a grotesque show -- the sound of the horse's legs cracking on the railing, the shots of it flailing in the water.
It's quite unfortunate, but it made me close the book on The Ring, rather than keeping it in my arsenal for random nights when a scare or two is needed. If it was at the beginning or end, I'd edit it out and keep my own movie (like how I almost never watch the ending of Doom Generation to avoid the switch from dark comedy to sadistic thriller). But as it stands, it's just a terrible spot in the middle that taints the whole finished product.
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