Bounce House (2023) [Cinequest 2024]

Callie + Chris’s short apocalyptic film watches like if Wim Wenders decided one day to direct his own post-apocalyptic flick. And I mean that as a compliment because while “Bounce House” isn’t too concerned with action, it does deliver to us the idea of what monotony would look like at the end of the world. Once it’s all gone down and you’re alive: then what? Do you keep living or find something else. “Bounce House” is more about the absurdity of the end of the world and basically waiting around for some kind of new development that may or may not ever come.

The end of the world is not what Polly expected. In fact, she’s not even 100% sure this is the end of the world so she’s biding her time. Living in the trailer in the backyard of her roommate’s house, listening to ska records as she relentlessly refreshes her Facebook feed (just in case) and reads self-help books. She hasn’t seen another human in a week but she’s trying not to get overly stressed about it. That’s when Thea shows up carrying a semi-automatic rifle and making fun of Polly’s music. Together, these two misfits come up with a plan: train Polly to survive the apocalypse.

Directors/Screenwriters Callie + Chris develop Polly in to an interesting character who survives mainly thanks to her routine and series of rituals. Although the budget is limited, the pair of directors paints an interesting and chaotic world, where everything has gone downhill with large mutant animals and MAGA cannibal tribes. Although we don’t explore this new world entirely, the directors do deliver in some moments that work beautifully. “Bounce House” is carried well by its small cast of Eilise Guilfoyle and Jade Kaiser.

Both actresses work beautifully off of each other, offering different perspectives of this new world, and perhaps providing a new approach to survival. “Bounce House” is a memorable bit of slice of life after the end of the world, and I wouldn’t mind seeing a feature somewhere down the line; especially with star Guilfoyle leading the charge.

Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival occurs in San Jose March 7th – March 17th.