Jackie Earle Haley
It would be impossible to approach Samuel Bayer’s A Nightmare on Elm Street without some cynicism. Wes Craven’s 1984 original remains an imaginative cut above typical ’80s slasher fare, introducing audiences to a hideously deformed bogeyman who attacks his prey at their most defenseless, in the realm of their dreams. It is at once audacious, terrifying and darkly comical, and it even introduced the world to a fast-rising newcomer, Johnny Depp.
The year is 1985. Nixon is entering his fifth term as president after leading the U.S. to victory in Vietnam, the Cold War has led us to the brink of nuclear destruction, and the masked superheroes of the world have been forced into early retirement by order of the government. So goes the premise of Watchmen, director Zack Snyder’s messy but often fascinating take on Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ celebrated graphic novel.