Not a day after moving in together, Maggie and Jon both come down with the worst flu in years. Now, trapped at home together, forced to share every living, breathing, suffering moment of misery, their week becomes the ultimate test of their relationship.

Can their love survive the cold?


Maggie and Jon couldn’t be more in love. That’s why they’re moving in together.

Unfortunately, before they can even finish unpacking, they’re both walloped with the worst flu in decades – the infamous racoon flu. Now they’re trapped at home, forced to spend every living, breathing, suffering moment together.

The sneezing, the sweating, the coughing and the puking, the fever and the flaming shits –  they’re all nothing compared to the unpleasant differences the two discover about one another. Maggie is cautious and private; Jon is open and expressive. Maggie believes in medicine and  bedrest; Jon believes in herbal remedies and hugs. Maggie feels suffocated and railroaded;  
Jon feels shut-out and rejected. And as sick as they both feel, empathy and understanding  
don’t come easy.

Soon, fears of intimacy and vulnerability rooted in Maggie’s childhood leave her feeling trapped  and cornered by the man she loves. Oblivious to her deepening discomfort, Jon happily persists in preparing for a big, silly housewarming celebration, an event that Maggie never wanted in the first place. As the wretched week drags on, temperatures rise and hostilities mount – until the couple  descends into all-out war. Sledgehammers and fists fly, jobs and lunches are lost, and the flu  proves to be the ultimate test of their relationship.

Winner, Best Actress in a Feature, Madeline Walter
— LA Comedy Fest, 2017

Jon is played by Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23‘s Michael Blaiklock. Maggie is played by Madeline Walter who you’ve seen in countless Funny or Die and Upright Citizen’s Brigade videos, as well as on shows like Weeds and Children’s Hospital. The script was written by J. Wilder Konschak and was inspired by a real flu and a real girlfriend (who’s now his wife). It’s a personal confession about dealing with the worst parts of your favorite person. The film was co-directed by Stirling McLaughlin and J. Wilder Konschak.

Cold War was shot during the winter of 2015 in the Chicagoland area.

Artistic Statement

by Stirling McLaughlin and J Wilder Konschak

When you first move in with someone new, it can be stressful. You’re testing whether your relationship still works in close-up. And caring for someone who’s sick? That’s another test. And having someone care for you when you’re sick? That’s yet another. They’re all scary escalations of intimacy.

We don’t believe there’s a LESS romantic form of intimacy than cleaning out someone’s puke bucket – and we don’t believe there’s a more undeniable form of it either. Being kept up all night  
by some coughing mope who stinks of vapor rub? How much closer can you get? Getting sick with your loved one is one of life’s most humiliating and humanizing forms of romance, and that’s why  it’s perfect for a fresh romantic comedy.

At its core, that’s what this movie is about: intimacy. It’s a perfect storm of intimacy-intensifying  catastrophes. These two start living together. She’s sick, taking care of him. He’s sick, taking care of her. And now they have to fight it out: just how intimate are they going to let things get? Just how close is too close? And this story isn’t just about softer, sweeter side of that closeness, either — but also the fear of getting too close, and the fear of scaring the other person away.

Visually, we ride the flu along with our lead character, going from warm, bright, familiar romantic  comedy tropes, to a more ragged, hand-made, and unconventional style, one that boldly leaves  
in the brush-strokes and the bumps. To support that, we’ve chosen performers with extensive  improvisational comedy experience on the UCB stage, helping us to provide naturalistic, human-scale performances – not only because it’s appropriate for a movie about human flaws and closeness to show human flaws and closeness, but because this kind of playful, sometimes surreal comedy works best when grounded in familiar human behavior.

In the end, this is an anti-romantic comedy with a hidden romantic heart, utilizing elements of  magical realism, aimed at an audience who seeks out smart and original comedy with a unique tone and idiosyncratic voice. Maybe, if we’ve done it right, we hope it can become the next big sick day tradition: chicken soup, PJs, and Cold War.