One Hundred Mornings

Year: 2009
Production Co: Blinder Films
Director: Conor Horgan
Writer: Conor Horgan
Cast: Ciarán McMenamin, Alex Reid, Rory Keenan, Kelly Campbell

In the great tradition of Dawn of the Dead and a thousand other far lesser survivalist, end-of-the-world tales, this Irish production pits four young people holed up in a rural cabin against an increasingly hostile world.

Jonathan (McMenamin) and Hannah (Reid) own the country cabin and it's gradually revealed they've taken Mark (Keenan) and his girlfriend Katie (Campbell) in for either safety or charity – we're never told which.

But we learn their histories at a very stately pace. Who they are and what they have to do with each other (including Jonathan and Katie's affair) becomes to the audience what it is to the characters – stuff to worry about some other time when the more urgent needs of day-to-day survival are taken care of.

Some catastrophe has befallen society, but we don't know what's behind it. Early on we see Jonathan doing what's soon revealed to be his morning ritual – smoking a dwindling number of cigarettes and checking the car radio for signs of life.

The village cops come by intermittently to check on them and the groups' relations with neighbour Tim are more cordial than cautious, but they have a shed full of provisions and no guns, so they know things can go in only one direction – south.

As food gets scarcer and their dealings with those around them grow more fraught with hunger and desperation, it becomes a more intense character study, telling us more about who they are and letting us watch the cracks appear.

Also like Dawn of the Dead , it ends on a curiously hopeful note even though there's no hope left in the world. The breakdown is complete – the nearby village is empty of people and necessities, and Jonathan and Hannah find themselves the only ones left.

The final cigarette seems to represent the last of civilisation before the inevitable, and despite the hardship and horror soon to descend they decide to face it with hope and dignity, as if it's just a rainstorm they have to go inside and ride out. It's with a well-gestated sense of doom that we know there'll be no more coming outside to greet the dawn.

One Hundred Mornings isn't often scary, but the situation provides all the horror you need, with realism and good performances doing the rest. Disaster or blockbuster fans will want the end of society explained, but if you're a more discerning cinephile you'll realise it's not even a little bit about that.

Instead, it's a perfect example of how good acting and directing and a good story can accomplish so much more than special effects or cutaways to Prime Ministers ordering air strikes.

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