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Curse of the Forty-Niner (2002)

R | | Horror | October 2002 (USA)
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A group of friends discover gold deep inside an old mine. But by taking the gold and think they've hit it big, they awaken a long dead miner who's Hell Bent on protecting his treasure.


John Carl Buechler


Antonio Olivas (screenplay)
1 win. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Karen Black ... Aunt Nelly
John Phillip Law ... Sheriff Murphy
Richard Lynch ... Old Man Prichard
Vernon Wells ... Jeremiah Stone
Martin Kove ... Caleb
Jeff Conaway ... Reverend Sutter
Brad H. Arden Brad H. Arden ... Forty-Niner
Sean Hines Sean Hines ... Nick Berman
Carrie Bradac Carrie Bradac ... Claire Berman
Stephen Wastell ... Axl (as Steve Wastell)
Sangie Sangie ... Tori
Rick Majeske Rick Majeske ... Hayden (as Rich Majeske)
Elina Madison ... Rox Ann
Alexandra Ford ... Eve
Shadrach Smith Shadrach Smith ... Jared


A group of friends discover gold deep inside an old mine. But by taking the gold and think they've hit it big, they awaken a long dead miner who's Hell Bent on protecting his treasure.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for horror violence, sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

October 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Curse of the 49er See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



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Did You Know?


The gang drives out to the campsite in the explorer. As Axel and Eve get out of the passenger side rear door, the reflection of the boom mic can be seen in the small door window. See more »


References Psycho (1960) See more »

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User Reviews

Uneven old school slasher...
26 May 2006 | by jluis1984See all my reviews

During the 80s, U.S. horror industry had a boom of the slasher genre after the success of "Halloween" in '78 and "Friday the 13th" in 1980. The decade saw not only their numerous sequels, but also the countless imitations and further explorations in the sub-genre. While most of those films were of average quality, it still can be considered one of the most active periods of American horror cinema. "Curse of the Forty-Niner" is a late addition to the genre, as even when it was made right after 90s revival of the genre, it has many of the elements of the 80s old school slashers.

The movie starts with a young man named Jared (Shadrach Smith) who discovers the treasure of a dead miner in a remote town in California. He calls his sister Claire (Carrie Bradac) and the rest of his friends to share the gold, but when the gang arrives Jared has disappeared. Soon they'll discover that the dead miner, Jeremiah Stone (Vernon Wells) has risen from the grave to protect his treasure and they will face his rage.

Veteran make-up artist John Carl Buechler directs the movie combining the typical elements of a slasher like a group of inexperienced people, an isolated location and an apparently invincible serial killer. Familiar with the genre (he directed Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood back in 1988), he follows the slasher formula to the letter so we get our fair share of inventive killings, gore, partial nudity and comedy; everything with a distinct 80s feeling that strangely works fine with the 90s style of film-making. It is like a perfect mix between both kinds of slashers.

However, it also carries the flaws of both styles, delivering a weak storyline with stereotyped characters that serve to no purpose other than to be killed by the monster. With a cast that seems to had been chosen based on looks only, the film goes downhill and quickly becomes another clichéd repetition of the plot that has been done many times previously; which is a shame because Buechler has done better and the original premise of the film was perfect for a modern supernatural slasher. In the end the overall product feels as if Buechler was trying to copy what makes modern slashers successful but instead he get all the flaws those film can have.

The acting skills of the young cast ranges from average to bad, as the some of the actors are void of any charm or ability to make the two-dimensional characters likable. Exceptions to this are the veterans appearing in small supporting roles such as Kaen Black, Richard Lynch and John Phillip Law. Stephen Wastell and Alexandra Ford are the only members of the young cast who actually give a great performance and Wastell is superb as the comic relief of the film. These two young actors are the only ones actually giving decent performances and actually make you care for their respective characters, basically stealing the movie to the actual lead characters played by the wooden couple of Sean Hines and Carrie Bradac.

All these flaws seem to leave the film without any redeeming quality, but still, the film has several good things that are worth to point out, like the overall look of the film, which is of a good quality although the poor CGI effects look bad when contrasted with the good make-up the miner has. John Carl Buechler manages to keep the film interesting and while definitely not a good director, he gets the job done.

"Curse of the Forty-Niner" is a mixed bag as it has enough flaws to make one forget about its good stuff, leaving it as another mediocre film in Buechler's uneven career. Hopefully Stephen Wastell and Alexandra Ford will get better roles as they show a lot of potential as actors. While maybe not a good movie, fans of 80s slashers may find something worth of their time in this flick. 5/10

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