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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

No, Eight Days to Live is a Canadian TV movie written by screenwriters David Fraser with Peter Smith and Greg Spottiswood.

It was 'inspired by' (meaning very loosely based on) the true story of 19-year old Joe Spring whose car crashed on 21 May, 2001 as he was driving from his home in the Vancouver area of British Columbia, Canada to Prince Rupert (just south of the Alaskan border) via Quesnel to attend a friend's high school graduation party. His car left the road about 34 km north of Williams Lake, hit a tree, and came to rest behind an embankment, trapping him without access to food or water. He was found alive eight days later by a search helicopter. Other than those details, the rest of the movie, e.g., family problems, girl problems, drug-dealing, etc., was added for dramatic effect.

The 'eight days' are a doctor's estimation of how many days a person could survive, assuming that he has had an accident and is trapped without food or water (at this point in the movie, Joe's whereabouts are not yet known). A doctor on Canadian TV explains that, after 4-5 days, the body will begin to selectively shut down its organs, such as the kidneys and digestive tract, in order to preserve brain and heart function. Six days without water, and dizziness, confusion, and hallucinations will set in. He gives Joe eight days to live and refuses to speculate beyond that.

Both the story and the filming sites take place in the Canadian Pacific Northwest, specifically near Vancouver, British Columbia.

How does the movie end?

When it comes to light that Joe was seen south of Lytton, the police realize that they've been searching in the wrong spot. So many days have passed, however, that the search for Joe has now been demoted from one of search & rescue to one of recovery, meaning that they presume they are looking for a body. Therefore, no more helicopters or search parties can be authorized. Teresa persuades Sgt Cassidy (Gwynyth Walsh) to take her up in the helicopter for one more search in the Lytton area. They notice something red in the trees and, upon landing, find Joe pinned in the front seat of his car, still alive. Joe is lifted out by helicopter. In the final scene, the helicopter flies off and a voiceover says, ' Joe lost 30 pounds, his face needed reconstructive surgery, his kidneys failed, and the nerves in one leg were crushed. Doctor said it would be six months before he could move his toes; he moved them in three days. Six months later, Joe was well enough to try kick boxing. When asked if he had any advice for people, Joe said, "Never give up on your family."'

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