Nearly 20 years after his sudden death, River Phoenix’s final film, Dark Blood, will be seen now that Dutch director George Sluizer has completed it. The trailer is below.
The former child star, River Phoenix, died of a heart attack in 1993 on Halloween night outside the Viper Room in Los Angeles, and left one unfinished movie behind. Phoenix had been shooting Dark Blood, an apocalyptic drama set on a nuclear testing site, before his death, and Dutch director George Sluizer has finished it, and will debut it at the Netherlands Film Festival in Utrecht in September.
Sluizer had abandoned the project right after the actor’s death, but he took the footage back to the Netherlands fearing that the film might be destroyed and never see the light of day. You might not recognize his name, but the director’s best known work was the chilling 1988 thriller Spoorloos, remade as The Vanishing (1993) starring Jeff Bridges and Kiefer Sutherland. The remake was not nearly as powerful as the original so if you’ve not seen it, it’s highly recommended. The original that is.
River Phoenix plays Boy, a young widower living on a nuclear testing site in the desert. While he waits for the end of the world, Boy carves Katchina dolls that supposedly contain magical powers. His life is disrupted when a Hollywood jet-set couple travelling across the desert become stranded after their car breaks down. Boy rescues the couple and then takes them prisoner. Dark Blood also stars Judy Davis, Jonathan Pryce and Karen Black.