Watch River Phoenix’s final film, ‘Dark Blood,’ on YouTube
River Phoenix was shooting George Sluizer’s film “Dark Blood” when he died of an accidental drug overdose in Los Angeles in October 1993. The film, which was 80% completed at the time, remains unfinished but last year Sluizer, at age 80, tried to salvage it by providing narration for the missing scenes that were never shot.
The director then debuted it to a private audience at the Netherlands Film Festival in September, before screening it twice more: at the Berlin Film Festival in February and the Miami Film Festival in March. It never landed theatrical distribution, however.
Now someone has uploaded the film in 12 parts to YouTube, and you can view it here. (The movie is unrated; view at your own risk.)
Sluizer introduces the film in the initial four-minute clip, comparing it to a two-legged chair that he wanted to make upright again.
“The fourth leg will always be missing but with three legs the chair will stand upright, " says Sluizer in a voice-over. “Please take pleasure in the unfinished film ‘Dark Blood.’”
The movie stars Phoenix as a young widower who retreats to the desert. While there he runs into a married Hollywood couple, played by Jonathan Pryce and Judy Davis. He initially rescues them after their car breaks down but later holds them prisoner because of his attraction to Davis’ character.
Reviews out of the film festivals where it screened were fairly positive, prompted primarily by the curiosity factor. The Guardian called it “fragmentary, uneven and downright odd,” but completed Sluizer’s solution for the missing scenes “a simple but surprisingly effective tactic.”
Now we can see it for ourselves.
Inside the business of entertainment
The Wide Shot brings you news, analysis and insights on everything from streaming wars to production — and what it all means for the future.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.