On Halloween night, 1993 River Phoenix cut his own life and acting career short when he died of a drug overdose outside The Viper Room in West Hollywood. Before he died, he had made a strong mark on the movie world with performances in Stand By Me, My Own Private Idaho and an Oscar nomination for his role in Running On Empty.

Phoenix appeared in three films that were released in 1993, but there was one left unfinished – a thriller called Dark Blood that dealt with the long-term effects of nuclear testing and saw Phoenix playing a hermit widower living out in the desert awaiting the end of the world.

Eighteen years later, director George Sluizer (The Vanishing) is announcing that he plans on editing the film into a completed print and releasing it sometime in 2012. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sluizer plans on requesting that Joaquin Phoenix do some voice over work as a stand in for his late brother.

It will be wonderful to see River Phoenix on screen again, but beyond the curiosity here, the film doesn’t sound particularly remarkable. Sluizer had an uneven career, and the script for Dark Blood was written by Jim Barton – who has 5 lesser works to his name. However, the film co-stars Jonathan Pryce and Judy Davis, and there’s always the chance that Sluizer can create something as electric as The Vanishing once again.


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