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River Phoenix’s Final Film Finally Ready To Screen 20 Years After His Death

Fine Line Features

Nearly 20 years after he passed away from a heart attack caused by a drug overdose, River Phoenix’s final film will finally make its world premiere this September.

Phoenix was working on George Sluizer’s ‘Dark Blood’ when he died outside the Viper Room in 1993. The director abandoned the project shortly after losing his lead actor, but has since returned to the feature and began piecing together his footage in an effort to complete his narrative. The updated ‘Dark Blood’ will hold its premiere at the Netherlands Film Festival in Utrecht on Sept. 27, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The trade says that Sluizer received funding from the Netherlands Film Fund to complete the project. It will screen before a special guest audience at the European fest.

In ‘Dark Blood,’ Phoenix plays a character named Boy, a widower who lives on a nuclear testing site. He leads an isolated existence until he encounters what the trade calls “a Hollywood jet-set couple traveling across the desert [who] become stranded after their car breaks down.” The cast rounds out with Judy Davis, Jonathan Pryce and Karen Black.

Hopefully ‘Dark Blood’ will find its way to additional outlets after it screens in the Netherlands. In today’s day and age, thanks to Netflix and On Demand, it should be easier to secure some type of distribution deal that will bring the film to an interested audience. And given the fact that it’s Phoenix’s final film, we’re all likely anxious to be reminded of the talent he had … and the gift the industry lost on the day he died.

In the meantime, here’s very rough footage of Phoenix in a ‘Dark Blood’ scene we found on YouTube. Maybe an trailer will surface in the coming weeks? Stay tuned.

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