Director George Sluizer plans to finish his dramatic thriller Dark Blood some eighteen years after production came to a halt due to the sudden and unexpected death of his leading man, River Phoenix.

The actor was shooting Dark Blood in 1993 when he died of a heart attack on Halloween night outside the Los Angeles club the Viper Room. Shortly after the incident happened, George Sluizer hid the footage away, fearing that the film would be destroyed. He has now pulled that footage out of storage and re-edited it. He believes that he will be able to deliver a final cut of the film with a few tweaks and adjustments, and a new voice over. River Phoenix was only eleven days away from wrapping the film when he died.

Dark Blood revolves around River Phoenix's character, a hermit that lives on a nuclear test site, awaiting the inevitable end of the world. A famous Hollywood couple seeks out the site for shelter, and River Phoenix's character ends up having an affair with the woman.

George Sluizer plans to have Joaquin Phoenix record the voice-over, as he believes the two brothers sound alike. The director has stayed in close contact with the Phoenix family ever since the death of River Phoenix.

The title may have to be changed due to a copyright claim. George Sluizer hopes to have the film in theaters by 2012. You can check out an unfinished clip from the film below.