River's last film to screen

Nearly two decades after his much publicised death, actor River Phoenix's last movie Dark Blood will premiere at a Dutch film festival.

"Dark Blood by director George Sluizer will premiere on Thursday evening, 27 September at the Netherlands Film Festival in Utrecht," according to the festival's website.

The Dutch director had finished four-fifths of the movie when Phoenix, playing one of the three main roles, collapsed and died of a drug-induced heart-failure outside a Hollywood nightclub on 31 October 1993.

The 86-minute film was left unfinished until 80-year-old Sluizer's deteriorating health prompted him to restart post production two years ago, his daughter Anouk Sluizer told AFP.

It was finished in January this year.

"My father is ill and he decided to resume the movie's post-production after almost 20 years," she said, adding "he had shot about 81 percent and there was enough material to make a suspenseful movie."

Dark Blood tells the story of Boy (played by Phoenix), a young widower who retreats into the desert to live a reclusive life after his wife died as a result of nuclear testing.

He saves a stranded couple on their second honeymoon, only to keep them hostage as he fell in love with the female lead character (played by Judy Davis), according to a statement published on the Netherlands Film Festival's website.

Because of Phoenix's death, Anouk said: "My father had to find a creative solution, about which I cannot say much as there is an element of surprise."

Phoenix died aged 23 and at the time was regarded as one of the most promising rising young actors of his generation together with his peers such as Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt.

His death at the time was compared to that of another silver screen legend James Dean, who perished in a car crash in 1955 at the age of 24.