It's a tribute to clever marketing that the trailers made Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer (Fox) look less sucky than its predecessor. It isn't. It really, really isn't…

The Stephen King adaptation 1408 (Weinstein) was embraced by audiences and wildly overrated by critics, perhaps because it injected some "class" into a genre dominated in recent years by gory mayhem and torture porn. As an author who specializes in travelogues about haunted hotels—and gets trapped in one in New York—John Cusack does his best with a role reminiscent of a one-man Off-Broadway stage show. But like a lot of self-reflexive King works, the film treats the writing process like an echo chamber, and it sucks all the danger out of the room…

Based on a minimalist play first staged at the Red Orchid Theater in Chicago, the paranoid horror film Bug (Paramount) doesn't bother trying to hide its roots, though director William Friedkin does everything in his power to intensify the action. But the real focus is on the superb lead performances by Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon, who together latch onto the idea that tiny aphids have invaded their motel room and require horrific extermination measures…

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Julia Loktev's Day Night Day Night (IFC) stars Luisa Williams as a nondescript, ethnically ambiguous young woman who's deposited in Times Square with a backpack full of explosives. Loktev gives no indication of Williams' cause or origins; she just holds the camera tight on her face, building suspense from the ordinariness of the 48 hours leading up to her moment of truth. It's mostly an effective strategy, though by the time Williams arrives at button-pushing time, the tension is matched by frustration over the way Loktev manipulates her audience and tries to distract them with coy "humanizing" touches…

Robert Altman fans will recognize the Raymond Carver adaptation Jindabyne (Sony) as coming from the same source material as the Fred Ward/Huey Lewis sequence of Short Cuts. Director Ray Lawrence adapts it to suit a different environment, namely an Australian town where the discovery of a murdered young woman stirs racial tensions. It mostly works, and when it doesn't, strong work from Laura Linney and Gabriel Byrne keeps it compelling.