Films go through numerous cuts before the finished product is released to the public, which is the consumed by the general population for their entertainment.
However, prior to that, there are premieres for the film. Sometimes, these premieres are at festivals, like the Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film, where the 1998 Japanese horror film, Ringu, had its European debut (in 1999). Much like the rest of critics around the world, critics at the festival praised the film, primarily for its tense atmosphere, strong build up, and not relying on jump scares.
But the continued praise for Ringu wasn't the only thing to come out of the film festival. Along with it was the claim that the cut shown at it was a significantly more disturbing and violent one than the one shown elsewhere.
|Eye can feel it in the air tonight.|
According to those who claim to have attended the screening, the main difference between the cut shown there and the one released in theaters was the open mouth effect on Sadako’s victims. In the Brussels Cut, the effect was significantly more vertically deformed, not unlike how they were in the 2002 American remake, The Ring. Those who said they saw this version of the film stated that this aspect of the film made it much creepier.
With all the praise given to the Brussels Cut of Ringu, there's a question that should be asked: why wasn't this cut released in theaters? Well, the answer’s simple, and it's been answered twice by the film’s director, Hideo Nakata.
The Brussels Cut doesn't exist.
Indeed, Nakata has denied any and all knowledge about the Brussels Cut. In spite of this, however, numerous people have come forward claiming to have seen said cut, with some stating it's aired on British and Spanish television.
So, the question remains: is Nakata hiding the cut from general audiences or is this a bizarre case of the Mandela effect?
That's difficult to answer. The concept of a lost cut of a film is nothing new, and the possibility of someone (or a group of people) having edited together a version of a film beneath the nose of a director isn't the most absurd thing ever. There have been times where entire films have been taken away from directors in the editing bay, so it's possible Nakata could be in the dark in this situation.
Still, it begs the question as to why there'd be a new cut shown after the film has already been released, and to such high praise. Why run the risk of making it worse?
Such a question will likely never be answered considering the Brussels Cut is how generally considered to be an urban legend. However, with the number of people who've claimed to have seen it, I think there's something to be said about it all. Mainly, that if something's said enough, there are those that'll begin to accept what's said as fact.
Still, it's quite interesting that the mouth effect was used in The Ring. I wonder if that's a coincidence?