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    River Phoenix's Final Film, Dark Blood, Finally Finished, Gets Premiere Date

    River Phoenix Darlene Hammond/Getty Images

    Good news for River Phoenix fans: You haven't seen the last of the thespian—at least on celluloid.

    Dutch director George Sluizer has completed work on Dark Blood, the film featuring Phoenix's final performance, which was shelved following the 23-year-old heartthrob's tragic death 19 years ago.

    Per the Hollywood Reporter, after announcing last October plans to resurrect and re-edit Dark Blood, the 80-year-old helmer confirmed the drama will have its world premiere at the Netherlands Film Festival in Utrecht before a special guest audience on Sept. 27.

    River Phoenix's last film finally surfacing 18 years after his death

    Saving River's final big-screen turn was no easy task, however.

    With several more weeks still to go of filming, Phoenix died on Oct. 31, 1993, outside the Viper Room—a Hollywood nightclub owned at the time by Johnny Depp—after overdosing on a dangerous mix of heroin and cocaine that, along with several other prescription drugs and marijuana, stopped his heart.

    Sluizer—best known stateside for his 1998 thriller The Vanishing, which he remade five years later with Jeff Bridges and Kiefer Sutherland—retained control over the footage. He had it locked away in a vault fearing it might be destroyed after the insurance company shut the production down.

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    As the years went by, however, the filmmaker realized he might be able to finish the flick, especially after discussions with Phoenix's family, who were supportive of the idea. He also suggested River's younger brother, Joaquin Phoenix, might provide voiceovers to assist him since the siblings sounded alike.

    So Sluizer went out and raised the necessary postproduction funds by getting a grant from the Netherlands Film Fund and through crowdfunding online.

    In Dark Blood, Phoenix costars with Jonathan Pryce and Judy Davis as a young widower and drifter named "Boy" who lives as a hermit on a nuclear testing site, imagining the end of the world. He subsequently comes to the aid of a couple whose car breaks down in the desert and ends up in a love triangle with the wife. No word yet on whether his fellow actors plan to attend the movie's opening.

    Snippets of Phoenix's performance from Dark Blood have already appeared on YouTube.

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