Actor River Phoenix's final film, “Dark Blood,” will finally make its U.S. debut at the Miami International Film Festival in March. The thriller, directed by George Sluizer, was 80 percent complete when Phoenix died in October 1993.
“Dark Blood” follows a Hollywood couple (Jonathan Pryce and Judy Davis) as they try to save their marriage with a second honeymoon in the desert. When their car breaks down, the pair is forced to stay in a young man's (Phoenix) shack, only to be taken prisoner.
After Phoenix's overdose death at 23, the footage was placed in storage. When Sluizer learned that the film was going to be destroyed to make space, he had it moved to The Netherlands. The director just got around to finishing the flick last year and has already shown it at the Dutch Film Festival.
MIFF executive director Jaie Laplante told The Hollywood Reporter, “'Dark Blood' is a film of legend, one of Hollywood's great mysteries. The tragic loss of River Phoenix's outstanding talent is still profoundly felt 20 years later. We are proud that George Sluizer has honored Miami as the place to finally share his remarkable collaboration with Phoenix and the other great artists involved with 'Dark Blood.'”
THR also reports that the Phoenix family is not involved in the film's release. They said in a statement, “Despite George Sluizer's claim that he has been communicating with River Phoenix's family in regard to releasing River's last film, Joaquin Phoenix and his family have not been in communication with the director nor will they participate in any way.”