|“||Face it, Larry, we're both bullshitters. But my camera isn't. It doesn't know how to lie. It only shows you what's put right in front of it.||”|
— Adam reveals to Lawrence that he was observing him[src]
Observing Dr. Gordon
Adam Stanheight was a freelance photographer hired by discharged detective David Tapp. Calling himself "Bob", Tapp paid Adam $200 a night to follow and photograph Lawrence Gordon, a doctor who Tapp suspected of being the Jigsaw Killer. Adam managed to follow Lawrence for several days and took numerous photos of him, some showing him leaving the run-down Hotel Barfly, where he met his medical student and mistress, Carla. Adam's occupation ended up getting him targeted by John Kramer, the actual Jigsaw Killer. (Saw)
After returning home to develop his photos of Lawrence, Adam fell asleep in his darkroom. He later woke up to find his entire apartment without light. He realized someone else was in his apartment and used his camera flash to locate the invader. Upon entering his living room he found a puppet sitting on his couch and maniacally laughing at him. Adam used a baseball bat to destroy the puppet when he realized that the invader was hiding in his closet. However when he eventually searched the closet he was attacked by the Jigsaw Killer's apprentice, Amanda Young, and after a brief struggle Adam ultimately passed out. (Saw, III)
After abducting Adam from his apartment, Amanda took his unconscious body to a dilapidated bathroom for his game. Upon entering, she saw John, standing in front of a mirror, while he disguised himself with a mask and faked blood, which made him look like he had shot himself in the head. As he noticed Amanda's arrival, he ordered her to chain Adam to a pipe in the corner of his room by his left leg. While she removed his belt and shoes and chained him up, John used a special fluorescent color, which was only visible in the dark, and painted an "X" on the wall in the corner of the room, where Gordon was chained up. Afterwards, picked up a bucket full of fake blood and poured it on the floor. Meanwhile, Amanda filled a bathtub next to Adam with water and finally laid his unconscious body in there. Afterwards, she turned off the water again and tossed the key for his shackle on his stomach. Once they had finished all of their preparations, John told her that it was time to start their game. John then injected himself with a tranquilizer, which slowed his heatbeat and relaxed his muscles. Afterwards, he ordered Amanda to go. Therefore, Amanda took Adam's belt and shoes, as well as the things they had used for the preparation of the game, with her and was about to leave. Meanwhile, John grabbed a tape recorder and a revolver and lay down in the puddle of blood, posing as a corpse. Amanda then turned off the lights and closed the door behind her as she left the bathroom. (Saw, III)
Seconds later, Adam woke up and scrambled from the bathtub- Thereby, he pulled the plug and unwittingly sent the key down the drain. He immediately panicked and started yelling for help, when he suddenly heard a man's voice somewhere in the darkness. The man turned on the light and was revealed to be another prisoner chained to a pipe as well in the opposite corner of the room. Adam recognized him as Dr. Gordon, but pretended not to know him. Between them lay what appeared to be the corpse of a man who shot himself in the head, face down in a pool of blood, holding a tape player in one hand and a revolver in the other. Both men found envelopes containing audio tapes in their pockets, and after obtaining the tape player, Adam and Lawrence learned what they needed to do: Lawrence had to kill Adam by 6:00 o'clock if he wanted to save his wife and daughter, who were held hostages as well, while Adam simply had to survive until the time was up. Following the clues from the tapes, Adam found a plastic bag in the toilet tank, containing a pair of hacksaws as well as his photos of Dr. Gordon. He kept the photo's from Gordon but gave him one of the saws. However when they tried to cut through their chains, Adam's saw eventually broke, causing him to angrily throw it against the mirror which broke a piece of glass out of it. After unsuccessfully trying to cut through his chain as well, Dr. Gordon soon realized that the saws were not strong enough to cut through their chains and were actually meant to cut off their feet. He then told Adam about the Jigsaw Killer and how he himself was interrogated as a suspect five months ago. However, Adam still distrusted Gordon and even threatened to slit him with a glass shard from the mirror. Thereby, he realized that it was actually a one-way mirror with a camera positioned behind it.
Despite their continuing distrust Adam and Lawrence soon started to talk about the latter's family and Gordon gave Adam his wallet to show him a photo of him and his family, which he said to be his favourite picture of them. However the photo was replaced with another picture showing Alison and Diana tied up in their apartment. On the back of the photo was a message for Gordon, telling him that an "X marks the spot" and that sometimes he might see more with his "eyes shut". Adam told Gordon the photo wasn't in the wallet but refused to tell him about the new picture. However when they got into an argument about Adam not helping Gordon to find a way out Adam finally realized the meaning of the message and told Lawrence to turn off the light. Doing so revealed a "X" written on the wall with a fluorescent paint not visible in the light. When Gordon used his saw to break through the marked part of the wall he found a box inside a small hollow space which he was able to open with a key from the envelope from his pocket. The box contained a cellphone, two cigarettes and a message for Gordon which told him that he wouldn't need a gun to kill Adam and hinted at the blood of the dead man in the middle of the room being poisoned. When he asked Adam how he knew that they had to turn off the light Adam initially refused to tell him the truth but ultimately showed him the photo of his family held captive and apologized for not telling him earlier. Upon seeing that his family is actually in danger Lawrence thinks about killing Adam with a poisoned cigarette. However instead of actually doing so Lawrence formulated a plan to stage Adam's death in front of the camera. He gave one of the cigarettes which wasn't poisoned to Adam who pretended to die. This plan was thwarted when Adam was electrocuted through his chain. Due to this they got into another argument. However the shock also helped Adam to regain his memories of the night he was abducted in his apartment.
Some time later Lawrence was unexpectedly called by his frightened daughter and his wife. When Alison asked him if Adam was with him in the room she told her husband not to trust Adam as he already knew him before. Upon the call being interrupted Lawrence angrily yelled at Adam and demanded him to finally tell him the truth. Eventually Adam admitted that he was observing him for some days already and revealed the photos of him he found in the same bag which also contained the hacksaws. He claimed that he even knew about Gordon's mistress whom he met at a motel the night before. When being asked who hired him to take the pictures Adam told Gordon about Bob, the "tall black guy with a scar around his neck" which Lawrence immediately recognized as former detective David Tapp. When looking at his photos Adam suddenly found a picture which wasn't from him, showing a man staring out of a window of Lawrence's apartment, whom Lawrence identified as Zep Hindle, an orderly from the hospital. Moments later the clock striked 6:00, marking the end of the game as well as Lawrence's failure.
Lawrence was called again by Alison and heard shots and screams, causing him to panick until he was electrocuted as well which rendered him unconscious for some mere seconds. Adam desperately tried to wake him up and finally even managed to do so. However this caused Lawrence to further panick as he didn't know that his family actually managed to escape from Zep and despite Adam's frequent attempts to calm him down he started to cut of his foot while a screaming and horrified Adam was forced to watch. When Lawrence grabbed the dead man's gun and aimed at Adam the latter begged for his life but Lawrence shot him in the shoulder, intending to kill him, which caused Adam to collapse.
Shortly afterwards, Zep entered the bathroom and Lawrence desperately tried to shoot him but was out of bullets. Zep then prepared to kill him as he didn't kill Adam in time. However, Adam, who had survived the gunshot, knocked him to the ground and started to fight for Zep's gun. Adam eventually managed to get the gun out of Zep's hands and bludgeoned his head with the lid of the toilet tank. Lawrence promised to find help for Adam and crawled out of the bathroom, leaving Adam behind alone.
Ridden by fears Adam searched Zep's body for a key to his shackle but instead found another tape recorder which revealed that Zep was merely another victim of Jigsaw. After listening to the tape, the man in the middle of the room who was thought to be dead the entire time stood up and revealed himself to be the actual Jigsaw Killer. When he told him that the key to the shackle was in the bathtub Adam recognizes how it went down the drain when he woke up. Terrified he grabbed Zep's gun and attempted to shoot Jigsaw but was electrocuted by the latter's hidden remote control. After that Jigsaw turned off the lights before closing the door and leaving Adam to die in the darkness of the bathroom with the words "Game Over." (Saw)
Some time after Adam failed his test and was left to die, Amanda returned to the bathroom as she felt guilty for abducting him and had nightmares about his ghost haunting her. When she arrived Adam was already weakened by both his gunshot wound and his lack of food. Out of mercy Amanda suffocated him with a plastic bag. Adam desperately tried to fight her off but his head smashed against the toilet, leading to him losing his consciousness and finally succumbing to asphyxiation. (Saw III)
Following his death, Adam's corpse was left to rot in the bathroom. Several months after his death it had entered an advanced state of decomposition and was already degrading to bone by the time of the Nerve Gas House Game, when it was discovered by Daniel Matthews who was accompanied by Amanda Young. On the next day, Detective Eric Matthews, Daniel's father and another test subject, found the bathroom when he was looking for his son, but was subdued by Amanda, who had been waiting for him already and chained him to another pipe in the middle of the bathroom. When he woke up he immediately panicked. However he ultimately managed to free himself by smashing his foot with the lid of the toilet tank previously used by Adam to kill Zep Hindle. (Saw II, III)
Another few months later, Adam's corpse had almost fully decomposed, leaving nothing more than his skeleton. Dr. Gordon, who had become one of Jigsaw's apprentices on his own after surviving his test, shackled Mark Hoffman to the same chain and pipe as Adam and subsequently left him there to die as well. (Saw 3D)
Adam is also mentioned in David Tapp's notes and audio tapes in Saw II: Flesh & Blood. According to Tapp one of his former colleagues, Bernie, had hired Adam to observe his wife who had been cheating on him.
Adam's disappearance was also mentioned in the documentary Full Disclosure Report, which focused on Jigsaw's early crimes. After he disappeared, Detective Ron Willis and his colleagues searched his apartment where they found an e-mail from Tapp, who hired Adam for the observation of Gordon. Besides this, they also discovered his photos of Gordon as well as the ventriloquist puppet in his living room. Willis was later interviewed for the documentary Full Disclosure Report, which focused on Jigsaw's early crimes, and revealed these details to the audience.
Adam is mentioned in The Scott Tibbs Documentary by his best friend, Scott Tibbs, who decided to film a documentary about the Jigsaw Killer after Adam's disappearance. The documentary starts with a photo of Adam.
Adam was a selfish young man, showing no respect for the privacy of others and didn't care whom he had to spy on as part of his job as long as he got the money. His selfish behaviour was probably one of the reasons he didn't care much about having contact with his family. He was also very sarcastic, often making wisecracks when talking to others which he also did in situations of fear in order to calm himself down.
Furthermore Adam was a person not to be trusted and often held back important information that could get him into trouble as seen when he didn't show Lawrence Gordon the photos he took of him throughout the days before their abduction. However he is aware of these dishonest traits of his own but isn't really ashamed of them.
On the other hand Adam occasionally acted empathetic towards others. For example he seemed to actually feel sorry when he saw Lawrence worrying about the safety of his abducted family and also tried to calm him down when the latter suffered an emotional breakdown. He also seemed to be a forgiving person at times and even ventured his own life when he fought Zep Hindle and therefore saved Dr. Gordon's life even though the latter tried to kill him just a few moments before.
- According to the producers of Saw, Adam's last name is Faulkner, but the FBI document in Saw V gives Adam's last name as Stanheight. It is also said that in the original script for Saw, Adam's last name was Radford.
- In Saw and Saw III, Adam was shown to be chained by his left ankle, but in Saw II, his corpse is shown to be chained by his right ankle, and in Saw 3D, his chain appears to be what was used to keep Mark Hoffman from leaving the bathroom.
- In Saw II, Adam's body is shown with his head tilted downward, while in Saw 3D, his skull is upward and tilted.
- When Adam and Zep's corpses appeared in Saw II, III and 3D, Zep's corpse still had his hair, whereas Adam's corpse was completely bald, even though both corpses were at approximately the same level of decomposition.
- In Saw and the flashback in Saw III, Adam's gunshot wound was on his shoulder. But in Saw II and the opening scene of Saw III, it was just above his chest, and in Saw 3D, it appeared to be on his stomach.
- Numerous errors throughout the franchise have led some fans to believe that Adam is alive, and the corpse shackled in the bathroom is not him. However, it was confirmed on the official Saw website that Adam is dead.
- It is said that in the original script for Saw IV, in which the film took place in the time frame of Saw instead of Saw III, that Peter Strahm would find and enter the bathroom shortly after Adam was left to die and that Adam would attempt to shoot Strahm out of fear, prompting Strahm to shoot and kill Adam in self-defense.
- Adam has been seen or referenced in every film except Saw IV.
- Adam's flannel shirt was in the bathroom from the beginning until the end in the first film but in Saw II and Saw 3D his flannel was nowhere to be seen.
- In a deleted scene of Saw III Adam ran into Amanda on the way from his apartment, asking to take a picture of her. Another scene which has been only in the Director's Cut of the third film showed that Amanda had nightmares of him due to her guilt which was the reason why she returned to the bathroom and killed him out of mercy.
- Adam became one of the most popular characters of the whole series, which Whannell credits to giving his own character the best lines.
Appearances and References
|Saw||Saw II||Saw III||Saw IV||Saw V||Saw VI||Saw 3D|
|Appears||Voice & Corpse||Flashback & Corpse||Absent||Mentioned||Archive||Archive & Corpse|
|Full Disclosure Report||The Scott Tibbs Documentary||Saw: The Video Game||Saw II: Flesh & Blood|
|Absent||Absent||Pictured & Mentioned||Pictured & Mentioned||Absent||Mentioned|