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Dark Blood (2012)

Dealing with nuclear testing and its long-lasting deadly effects, the story portrays Boy, a young widower living in the desert on a nuclear testing site. Living as a hermit, he waits for ... See full summary »


George Sluizer


Jim Barton


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Credited cast:
River Phoenix ... Boy
Judy Davis ... Buffy Fletcher
Jonathan Pryce ... Harry Fletcher
Karen Black ... Motel Woman
T. Dan Hopkins ... Joe Tapesi
Lorne Miller Lorne Miller ... Mechanic / Motel Woman's Son
Julius Drum Julius Drum ... Indian #1 (as Julius 'Josh' Drum)
John Trudell ... Indian #2 (as John Trudell Jr.)
Rodney A. Grant ... Indian #3
George Aguilar ... Indian #4
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Stephen Silberkraus ... The Fletcher's Son


Dealing with nuclear testing and its long-lasting deadly effects, the story portrays Boy, a young widower living in the desert on a nuclear testing site. Living as a hermit, he waits for the end of the world, carving Kachina dolls that he believes have magical powers. While travelling on a "second" honeymoon across the Arizona desert, the car of a Hollywood jet-set couple breaks down. They are rescued by Boy, who holds them prisoner, because he desires the woman, and wants to create a better world with her. Written by GeorgeSluizer.com

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Plot Keywords:

nuclear testing | neo western | See All (2) »






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Release Date:

26 April 2014 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Дурная кровь See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


River Phoenix wasn't director George Sluizer's first and only choice for Boy's role. He asked Johnny Depp first but he wasn't interested in reading the script. See more »


Boy: It's getting... dark... in here.
See more »


Featured in George Sluizer - Filmen over grenzen (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

Will easily win over more people than just cinephiles
13 May 2014 | by StevePulaskiSee all my reviews

George Sluizer's Dark Blood is one of the many oddities in the film world. Shot about eighty percent of the way in 1993, but put in an abandonment because of the death of its lead actor River Phoenix at age twenty-three, Dark Blood managed to be edited, reworked, and released at several film festivals in 2012, marking an end in the saga to one of the curious wonders of cinema. In 1999, the film was almost burned by the insurance company, who was sick of storing it in a vault without a plan for years on end, and would've been gone for good had Sluizer not taken action and stolen the film back in a period of forty-eight hours.

River Phoenix died as a result of mixed drugs entering his system at Johnny Depp's club The Viper Room in 1993, closing the book on a young, ambitious life so early and abruptly after doing a handful of acclaimed picture. Watching Dark Blood in 2014, when Phoenix has sadly escaped the minds of many, one could see that the talent he possessed and the emotions he managed to convey were natural and believable. It's too bad that even with Dark Blood managing to get some sort of release, it will still be desperately short of attracting an audience it deserves.

The film focuses on an older couple named Harry (Jonathan Pryce) and Buffy (Judy Davis), who are traveling through the desert on a second honeymoon, hoping to pick up the pieces to their crumbling marriage. When their car breaks down in the middle of the desert, they meet a young widower who calls himself "Boy" (River Phoenix), who lives on his own, with his loyal mutt, following his wife's death from radiation. The radiation was caused by nuclear tests conducted close in proximity to Boy's ramshackle home in the middle of the desert. Now, the only thing he anticipates is the apocalypse (and the occasional passersby).

Initially, Boy seems gentle and grateful for the company, but Harry discovers long before Buffy does that he wants some sort of a romantic relationship with his wife. Boy longs for female companionship due to the loneliness and isolation that exists in the desert, and throughout the film, we see Boy's anger and hostility escalate, which eventually leads to him kidnapping Harry and Buffy and keeping them in his confines.

Being that only about four-fifths of the film is complete, director George Sluizer tacks on narration during the scenes that were never completed (some of which being very significant chunks of the film), describing the scene and reciting the dialog. Even before the film is a minute-long narration about how after Phoenix died, it left everyone shell-shocked to the point where no one really wanted to complete the film without his participation. Sluizer states that upon become very ill he wanted to edit and compile the clips of the film into something before it was too late.

Being that Sluizer managed to complete a project that many felt would never see the light of day, and that he has done such a great job on many different aspects, it seems harsh to critique it any way. Saying the film is fragmentary, and sometimes a bit choppy, is a pretty demeaning and stupid point of criticism seeing there was little Sluizer could do to prevent that in post-production. Rather than nitpicking elements that probably unsatisfied Sluizer in addition, let's focus on what the film really excels at, which is giving its lead actor a sendoff and bearing some great scenes of tension and excitement.

Consider the scene where Harry manages to momentarily break free from Boy's clutches, or when both head for the hills in their pickup truck. Scenes like this are given unexpected leverage thanks not only do the performances, but Sluizer's editing work, which still works to give old footage fresh vibes of suspense. Had Sluizer not taken the film seriously in terms of continuity and story, all seriousness and respect for the project would've dwindled to nothing, but thanks to the competent work orchestrated, Dark Blood manages to easily win more than just cinephiles over.

Starring: River Phoenix, Jonathan Pryce, and Judy Davis. Directed by: George Sluizer.

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