|“||I found myself a father... a leader... a teacher.||”|
— Amanda talking about her relationship with John[src]
Amanda Young, also known as Mandy, is a fictional character from the Saw franchise as well as the secondary antagonist of Saw III. She was portrayed by Shawnee Smith in the movies and voiced by Jen Taylor in Saw: The Video Game.
Amanda Young was an average woman until she got involved in a drug crime. Even though she was innocent she was framed by the leading detective Eric Matthews who faked the evidence against her and therefore caused her to be sentenced for drug possession. During her time in jail, she actually became addicted to heroin. (Saw II)
When Amanda was finally released she became a patient at the Homeward Bound Clinic, a recovery clinic for drug addicts led by Jill Tuck where she made acquaintance with another patient, Cecil Adams, and soon became his girlfriend. Jill tried her best to help Amanda to overcome her addiction and invited her to a party which was sponsored by William Easton, manager of the Umbrella Health insurance company. However, despite all her efforts she eventually gave up on Amanda, thinking that she was a "lost soul". One night she suffered from extreme abstinence symptoms and convinced her boyfriend Cecil to rob the clinic and steal the methadone supplies. They drove to the clinic and hid in a corner while waiting for the last patients to leave. When Jill was the only person left, Cecil suddenly had scruples and tried to dissuade Amanda from robbing her. However, she urged him even further, and eventually persuaded him. As Jill was about to leave, Cecil knocked at the security door at the entrance, claiming that he had forgotten his jacket in the waiting room. After initially hesitating, Jill eventually went back and got him his jacket. However, upon doing so, Cecil pushed her back and threatened her with a knife, thereby forcing her to open the door to the clinic. After obeying his order, Cecil told her to stand back. He quickly stole the medications and then ran back. Thereby, he accidentally slammed a doorknob into Jill's stomach, who was in her seventh month of pregnancy at this time. As she saw the blood on her skirt, she slumped down and started to cry. Cecil tried to calm her down and asked her what happened. However, when he realized what he had done, he quickly fled and left Amanda behind. Shocked by the accident, Amanda panicked and went back to her hiding spot. (Saw VI)
Some time later, Amanda was abducted by the serial killer known to the public as Jigsaw, who was the ex-husband of Jill Tuck and father of her miscarried son, Gideon. When she woke up, she found herself to be strapped onto a chair and had a metallic device placed on her head. She immediately panicked and tried to free herself from the chair but stopped when a TV turned on next to her. A mechanic ventriloquist puppet appeared on the screen and told her that the device on her head was hooked into her upper and lower jaw and would rip her head apart if she didn't manage to free herself within 60 seconds. It also revealed that the only key was in the stomach of her supposedly dead cellmate.
When the TV turned off, Amanda panicked again. However, the timer of the trap just started to count down when she freed herself from the chair, which caused a metal pin to be pulled out of the trap, resulting in its activation. When she saw the lifeless body of her cellmate, she recognized him as Donnie Greco, another patient from the clinic. She initially hesitated to cut open the body. However when she realized that Donnie wasn't dead but merely paralyzed, she grabbed a knife laying next to him and stabbed him multiple times until he died. With only a few seconds left, Amanda searched his stomach for the key and eventually managed to get free only moments before the trap was activated, making her the first person who ever survived one of Jigsaw's deadly games. Horrified by these events, Amanda began to cry, when the mechanic puppet slowly approached on a tricycle. It congratulated her for her survival and told her that she now knew how to appreciate her life. In panic, Amanda fled and ultimately found a way out of the building. (Saw, III)
Becoming Jigsaw's Apprentice
Following her near-death experience, Amanda's life changed drastically. She overcame her drug addiction and also changed her outward appearance by dressing less skimpy. However instead of further drug abuse she now started to harm herself in order to deal with psychic stress. Shortly after her test she went to the police station where she was interrogated by the leading detective David Tapp. When he asked her if she was grateful for what Jigsaw to her she answered that he had actually helped her. However, despite this, she was still traumatized by those events and bursts into tears again. (Saw)
After the interrogation, Amanda went back to her apartment and sat down on her bed when suddenly, John Kramer, who had invaded her apartment, talked to her. He told her not to be afraid and that her life had just begun. Due to her mentally unstable state of mind, she quickly became mentally dependent on John as he was the first person in her life that she could actually relate to and who seemed to genuinely care about her. Therefore he easily convinced her to become his apprentice. During a baptism ceremony John successfully converted her to his beliefs and gave her the instructions for her first game. (Saw III)
After the ceremony, John visited Jill at her clinic to talk to her about their work. While he deemed his one work necessary, he told Jill that her work at the clinic was for nothing as he believed that her patients were only using her and her good nature and only came to her to avoid their prison sentences. Furthermore, he didn't believe that her methadone therapy was successful as it made no difference if her patients were addicted to their own drugs or the methadone. Jill tried to explain that they only needed time to overcome their problems. This made John angry, causing him to yell at her, claiming that no one would appreciate life without having a close experience with death. However, he calmed down and finally revealed Amanda to her. John then tightly hugged his ex-wife and reminded her how she had already given up on Amanda, calling her a "lost soul". However, Amanda had overcome her drug addiction and claimed that it was John who had helped her. (Saw VI)
Five months after surviving her test, the time for Amanda's first game had finally come. She invaded the apartment of Adam Stanheight, a freelance photographer who had been observing John Kramer's doctor, Lawrence Gordon, for several days already. After Adam fell asleep in his darkroom, Amanda removed the fuse for his apartment as well as the batteries from his flash lamp. Then she placed one of John's ventriloquist puppets in the living room and went into hiding in Adam's closet. When Adam woke up and found his entire apartment without light, he quickly realized someone else was in his apartment and used his camera flash to locate the invader. Upon entering his living room, he found the 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 Amanda, who had covered her face with a pig mask, and after a brief struggle he ultimately passed out. (Saw, III)
Distressed and in tears, Amanda left the apartment and took Adam to a grimy industrial bathroom located in an underground tunnel network, where everything else had been prepared by Jigsaw for a complicated test. After chaining him by the ankle to a pipe, Amanda took off Adam's belt and shoes and placed his body in a water filled bathtub before she tossed the key to his shackle on his stomach. After that she turned off the lights and left the bathroom, while John stayed inside and posed as the corpse of a man who had apparently committed suicide in order to observe the game.
After the game ended, John left Adam to die in the bathroom after the latter had failed his test. John and Amanda then went into hiding, but due to her feelings of guilt Amanda had nightmares of Adam's ghost haunting her and therefore returned to the bathroom. When she arrived, Adam was already weakened by both a gunshot wound in his shoulder and his lack of food, as well as a possible infection from his injury. 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. Eventually this only worsened Amanda's feelings, driving her to deal with her emotional stress by self-harming once again. Due to her unstable state of mind, John comforted her and tried to make her feel better but he soon realized that in this state she could become dangerous for their mission and their test subjects. (Saw II,III)
Several months later John targeted Eric Matthews, the corrupt detective who had framed Amanda for drug possession. Therefore he and his apprentices abducted Eric's son, Daniel Matthews, as well as Jonas Singer, his manager Gus Colyard, the prostitute Addison Corday, the drug dealer Xavier Chavez, Laura Hunter and Obi Tate, six convicts who had been framed by Eric as well. These seven people were forced to play another game which was going to be directly connected to Eric's test.
To accelerate their proceedings John got Obi Tate to help him with the abduction of Daniel Matthews and the other five people while he prepared the traps for each one of them. When all of them were abducted and brought to an old abandoned house directly connected to the underground tunnels leading to the bathroom where Adam and Gordon's game took place several months ago, Detective Mark Hoffman, another one of John's apprentices, finally abducted Obi as well and took him to the same house as the other prisoners, making him the last test subject of the game. All of them were unconscious and lay on the floor of a room with a large safe. Among them was also Amanda who played as a victim on her own primarily to observe the game and make sure that the rules were followed by everyone. John placed the tape recorder containing the instructions behind a wall and helped Hoffman to install a booby trap connected to the lock of the room's only door. Having finished all of their preparations John and Hoffman left the room and locked the door. (Saw II, V)
When the game began Amanda was the last one to wake up from her unconsciousness. Playing her role as another victim she immediately pretended to panic and searched the room until she finally found the instruction tape as well as a key and a message which warned them not to use the key to open any door in the room. The tape told them that they were all breathing in a deadly nerve gas since the moment they arrived in the house. While the doors would open after three hours the gas would already kill them after two hours. In order to survive the prisoners had to find syringes with the antidote which were hidden in the house with one of them being in the safe. Additionally Jigsaw told them that they all had a connection and told them that the clue to this connection was marked with a "X". After listening to the tape Xavier grabbed the key. Amanda begged him to listen to the warning message. However he refused to do so and tried to open the door which caused the booby trap on the other side to go off and shoot Gus Colyard right in the eye. While the other prisoners panicked Jonas demanded Amanda to tell him how she knew about the tape. She then told them about Jigsaw and his games and therefore also revealed that she had been tested before.
In order to find a way out the remaining prisoners searched the whole room until the door finally opened. Amanda tried to remove the gun which had killed Gus, albeit unsuccessful. The group carefully made its way to the entrance hall. Xavier tried to open the front door with the key from the first room and angrily threw it away when it didn't work. However Jonas grabbed the key and put it in his jacket. Furious and angry Xavier tried to smash the door with a nail-studded baseball bat he had found in a hallway right before the first room. After this attempt failed as well he got into a fight with Addison until Jonas intervened. Only moments later Laura found a door which led them down to a boiler room.
Upon entering the basement the group found a tape which revealed that it was actually Obi who had assisted Jigsaw in their abduction. In order to redeem himself he had to crawl into a furnace where two syringes with the antidote were waiting for him; one for him and one for another prisoner of his choice. However when he grabbed the second syringe the door of the furnace was suddenly locked and the furnace itself was activated. As the flames came closer to him Obi started to panic and desperately tried to get out of the oven. While Jonas and Xavier tried to free him the rest of the group including Amanda watched in horror as Obi was burned alive. Ultimately Xavier and Jonas were neither able to save him nor the syringes. Upon Obi's death Amanda left the basement, remarking that it was his own choice that had eventually killed him.
Shortly afterwards the group divided. While Jonas, Xavier and Addison went upstairs Amanda, Laura and Daniel decided to stay on the ground floor in order to look for more of Jigsaw's clues as well as the antidote. While searching the entrance hall Daniel asked Amanda about the reasons for her first test. Therefore Amanda revealed to him that she was a drug addict and also harmed herself to deal with emotional stress. She further told him that she was no addict before her time in prison and that she was innocently framed. However she didn't tell him that it was actually Daniel's father who arrested her. When she was about to go upstairs she was surprised by Jonas who told them that they had found a door which caught their suspicion due to being the only one without a lock. When the group went upstairs Addison tried to open the door but remarked that it was stuck. Therefore Xavier angrily shoved her away and attempted to open it by brute force to which Amanda responded that the room was most likely a trap. However Xavier sarcastically told her that the whole house was a trap and went on until he finally managed to open the door. Unfortunately this caused a metal pin to be pulled out of a timer which was connected to another door. An audio tape left for Xavier by Jigsaw told him there was another antidote behind the second door. However it would be locked permanently if he didn't manage to find the key in time. Moments later Daniel found a pit full of thousands of used syringes hidden under a bed. According to Jigsaw the key to the door was somewhere in the pit.
After listening to the tape Xavier demanded that one of the others had to crawl into the pit and get the key. However when they refused he grabbed Amanda who immediately started to panic. As the remaining members of the group were afraid of Xavier they stood back and watched how he ruthlessly threw her in the pit. While the needles were piecing her skin Xavier became more and more angry and yelled at her to hurry up. Frightened and in pain Amanda rifled through the syringes until she eventually found one which had the key attached to it. When she threw it out of the pit Xavier grabbed it and tried to open the door while Daniel helped Amanda to climb out of the pit. Unfortunately Xavier didn't manage to open the door in time and angrily tried to attack Amanda but was only held back by Jonas. While Daniel carefully pulled the needles out of Amanda's skin Xavier ultimately separated from the group.
Shortly afterwards Amanda managed to calm down and stayed with the group to look for more of the antidote. While she was searching the house along with Daniel, Addison and Laura the latter suddenly collapsed in a hallway as she was seriously weakened by the gas. When Amanda tried to comfort her Addison told them they couldn't stay as they didn't have much time left. However when Laura noticed a picture at the wall which had large scratches on it which were shaped like an "X" she remembered Jigsaw's first tape and realized this was the clue to their connection. Upon investigating the picture Addison found a photo attached to its backside which showed Daniel and his father, Eric. This caused the group to finally realize that Daniel's father was the cop who arrested all of them by faking the evidence. Seconds later Laura suffered from a seizure and died in Amanda's arms who had desperately tried to safe her. Laura's death and the revelation of their connection causes both Addison and Amanda to leave Daniel. When they went away Xavier shouted for them and claimed he had found a way out.
However only moments later Amanda entered the room where all of them initially woke up and found the corpse of Jonas whose head had been smashed by Xavier with his bat. Upon this she immediately returned to Daniel who was still waiting in the hallway and told him they had to leave. Unfortunately they crossed Xavier's path who told them not to run away. Despite this they tried to flee and ran to the first room while Xavier pursued them. However he stopped when he heard Addison screaming for help. As Daniel and Amanda heard her screams as well Amanda burst out crying. Shortly afterwards Xavier took up his pursuit again and reached the room they were hiding in. When he tried to break through the door Amanda grabbed the nail-studded baseball bat which was still stuck in Jonas' skull and used it to jam the door. Due to the odd shape of the puddle of blood emerging from his smashed head Amanda realized there was a hidden trapdoor on the floor. With Daniel's help she managed to push the heavy safe away and unlocked the trapdoor with the key found in the beginning of the game which was still in Jonas' pocket at this point.
Only seconds after Daniel and Amanda went through the trapdoor and found the underground tunnels underneath the house, Xavier managed to open the door and continued to pursue them. Full of fear Amanda and Daniel ran away and followed the tunnel until they found another door. When they entered the room and turned on the lights the room was revealed to be the bathroom where Adam and Dr. Gordon's test had taken place several months ago. As there was no other way to escape the room Daniel decided to sham being dead. Just a few seconds later Xavier entered the room. When Amanda told him Daniel was gone he told her that all he wanted from her was a number written on her and Daniel's neck as those numbers were the combination to the safe which contained one of the antidotes. Amanda reminded him that he would still need her as she was the only person left who could tell him about his own number. However instead of asking her for help Xavier eventually cut off the skin from his neck with a knife he previously found in the basement while Amanda was watching in horror. When he was done he approached her but was killed by Daniel who suddenly jumped up and sliced his throat with the hacksaw previously used by Lawrence Gordon to cut off his own foot. When Xavier died in front of them Amanda started screaming.
However as she and Daniel were the only survivors left in the house the time for the next part of her and John's plan had come. Amanda subdued Daniel and injected him with the antidote from the safe. Afterwards she took his unconscious body with her and brought him to the Wilson Steel Plant, where John was already waiting for her to arrive. (Saw II)
After she had taken Daniel to John's hideout she went back to the house where the big game took place. Disguised in a black cloak and a pig mask she returned to the bathroom and lay down in the empty bathtub. Some time later Eric finally arrived at the house. As John had showed him video recordings of the game in the building, which he thought to be a live broadcast, he assumed that the game was still going on and went in to find his son. When he entered the bathroom and saw Amanda's lifeless body covered in the cloak he initially believed it to be Daniel. However when he approached her she took him by surprise and injected him with an anesthetic. Eric tried to shoot her but due to the narcotic ultimately lost his consciousness.
When Eric lay on the floor before her Amanda took of her mask and shackled him by the ankle to the same pipe as Adam. Afterwards she took the magazine from his gun and disappeared, leaving only the empty gun, a flashlight, the hacksaw and an audio tape in the room. Once Eric woke up he was disorientated at first but eventually found the tape lying next to him. When he started the tape he realized that it was recorded by Amanda and that she was an accomplice of Jigsaw all the time. She revealed to him that she was going to be John's successor once he died and that Eric was her first test subject. Seconds later Amanda appeared. Eric angrily shouted at her and threw the tape after her but she closed the door with the words "Game Over", leaving Eric alone in the darkness. (Saw II)
However despite the fact that the man who once innocently framed her was now locked away and likely going to die Amanda didn't feel relieved but instead suffered an emotional breakdown. Screaming and crying she stumbled through the tunnels and just stopped when she heard Eric behind her who shouted for his son. Surprised by his escape Amanda started to panic as he came closer to her and hid behind some pipes. When she thought the coast was clear she carefully left hear hiding spot but was hit by the head with a large metal rod by Eric when she turned a corner. Stunned by the blow she tried to crawl away and fight off Eric who bit the back of her knee and smashed her head against the wall several times, demanding her to tell him where his son was. When Amanda refused to answer and instead spit blood in his face Eric grabbed his knife and threatened her. However she embraced her opportunity and brutally kicked his foot which he had smashed and broken in order to get free from his shackle in the bathroom. Overwhelmed by the pain he fell to the floor, giving Amanda the chance to leave. As she was weaving towards the exit Eric shouted after her, insulting her and telling her she was nothing compared to Jigsaw. This caused Amanda to stop for a moment before she finally went back to take her revenge and kill Eric. Unbeknown to her Eric survived her attempted murder and was later nursed back to health by John's other apprentice, Mark Hoffman. (Saw III, IV)
After the events in the house both Amanda and John's identities were now known to the public, forcing them to go into hiding. As she was now isolated from the world even more Amanda's psychological dependence on John grew further until she was literally obsessed with him and his well-being. However she also started to doubt his methods, believing that his test subjects would never change even if they managed to survive their games. Despite her constantly worsening state of mind John was reliant on her help as he wasn't able to carry on his work due to his cancer. Therefore Amanda started to test people on their own but unlike John didn't give them any chance to survive.
Her first victim was Troy, another patient of Jill Tuck's Homeward Bound recovery clinic. One night Amanda abducted him and took him to an elementary school where she prepared the game by placing her unconscious victim on a chair in the middle of a classroom and piercing several parts of his body with eleven metal chains. Afterward she placed a self-built nail bomb which was connected to a timer right in front of Troy before she left the room and welded the door shut, making it impossible for him to escape even if he managed to free himself from the chains. This ultimately caused Troy to be killed in the explosion of the nail bomb. (Saw III)
Later that night, Amanda invaded the apartment of Detective Allison Kerry and placed a camera inside her closet. When Kerry went home and watched the tape from Troys game, which had survived the explosion, on her TV she suddenly saw herself on the screen. She realized that she was filmed from inside her closet and shot right through its door. When she searched the closet she found the camera and removed it but was then subdued by an invader with a pig mask who had sneaked up to her. Amanda Young and Detective Hoffman abducted her and placed her in another one of Jigsaw's traps. When Kerry woke up a video told her that she had to grab the key for her trap which lay in an acid-filled jar. She eventually managed to do so and successfully unlocked her trap. However the lock was without function. During her final moments Amanda approached her. Kerry recognized her and realized that she was the one who manipulated her trap as well as Troy's. Just mere seconds later the trap teared her rib cage apart, killing her while Amanda was watching. (Saw III, IV)
As John's physical condition constantly worsened and brought him even closer to death the time for his final test had come. Four days after the death of Detective Kerry John and his apprentices made the final arrangements for the game which was going to take place at the Gideon Meatpacking Plant, the first building John ever built during his career as an engineer. To prepare the game John's apprentices set up the necessary traps and clues inside the building and abducted the victims one by one. When most of the work was done Amanda brought John to his room when they came across Mark Hoffman who prepared another trap called "The Rack" by John. As he saw that Hoffman wasn't following his original construction plans for the trap, John criticized him, telling him to ask next time. When Hoffman asked him how many next times there were going to be, John merely answered that their work would go on as long as necessary. Hoffman then recklessly dumped Timothy Young, the trap's test subject, out of a wheelbarrow and was therefore berated by John for his brutal behavior, who reminded him that Timothy was still a human being after all. When he asked Hoffman if he liked this kind of brutality, Hoffman responded that John wanted to see Timothy suffer just as much as he did. This resulted in a short argument between Hoffman and Amanda who asked him when he was going to get tested on his own. Hoffman responded that this was unnecessary as he claimed he had always appreciated his life unlike her and showed her the scars she had inflicted on herself. Amanda mocked him, telling him he should get used to her as he wouldn't get rid of her anymore to which he responded that she shouldn't be so sure about it. When John interrupted them by saying it was time to go on, Amanda was about to finally take John to his room when they came across Jill. John sent Amanda to go after Dr. Lynn Denlon, another test subject and renowned surgeon, and bring her to the plant. (Saw VI)
Eager to fulfill his orders Amanda left the building and went to the Angel of Mercy Hospital. Disguised with a pig mask Amanda entered the hospital undetected and waited for Lynn Denlon. When the doctor came back from the accident and emergency department and entered the changing room Amanda followed her and locked the door. When Lynn was about to leave and realized she was trapped she tried to call for help on her mobile. However before she could do so she was attacked and subdued by Amanda who took her to the Gideon Plant and strapped her to a wheelchair. After that she left to go on some final errands for John. (Saw III)
When Amanda eventually returned to John and Lynn, she turned on the surveillance monitors and the light, causing Lynn to wake up from her unconsciousness. Realizing she had been abducted, Lynn desperately and full of fear screamed for help. Amanda calmly approached her and told her to be quiet before she brought her to John's room, who was already waiting for them. When the women entered the room, John greeted his new subject and former doctor, even though she couldn't remember him being one of her former patients and only recognized him from the news stories. After a brief introduction, John told her that he had chosen her for a dangerous test due to her depression after her son's death and explained her the rules for her game. Amanda put a collar on her which was connected to John's heart rate monitor and would explode if John died or she moved out of his range. It was her task to keep John alive until another victim managed to finish a series of tests. However he refused to tell her and Amanda that the victim was actually Lynn's husband, Jeff Denlon. If she was able to accomplish her task, Amanda told her to let her go after her test and then freed her from her restraints.
Lynn eventually began her examination of John, when Amanda told them that Jeff's game had begun. They got in an argument when Lynn told her that John had to be operated at the hospital as soon as possible to decompress his brain as it was presumably herniating. When Amanda insulted and threatened Lynn John told her not to do so as Lynn couldn't do what she had to do under such pressure. Seconds later he suffered an epileptic attack. Lynn immediately took action and ordered Amanda, who was shocked and paralyzed, to help her, which she eventually did. However, they didn't have the right medicaments to end the seizure and therefore, all they could do was to wait. After a few seconds, the attack was over and John stabilized again. Following this incident, she talked to Amanda, who had left the room in tears, and finally convinced her that he had to be operated. However, Amanda demanded her to perform the surgery at the meatpacking plant and asked her what she needed. Realizing that every attempt to convince her to take John to the hospital was pointless, Lynn told her that she would need anaesthetics as well as a drilling machine, among other instruments. After that, Amanda left to get the necessary supplies.
After her return, she saw that Lynn was walking around the hideout and accidentally activated one of John's traps, the one which he used on Amanda long ago. When Amanda approached her from behind and thereby frightened her witless, Lynn tried to convince her once again that John had to be operated in a hospital. However Amanda ignored her advice and simply remarked how hard it must be for Lynn to concentrate while she was surrounded by so many things she could kill her with. To mock her she thrust an axe into her hand and told her that if she wanted to kill her she should do it quietly to not alert John and make him rip off his heart rating monitor which would activate the collar. She also told her that it was her who built the collar and therefore knew exactly what it could do to her if she didn't follow the rules. As Lynn was increasingly frightened by her, Amanda took the axe back from her and asked her if she had everything she needed for the surgery. When Lynn responded that she couldn't save John's life with the instruments given to her, Amanda merely responded that she'd be surprised what tools could save a life before she took her old trap from the floor and put it back on the table.
Just a few minutes later, she sat at John's bed while Lynn was preparing the surgery. Amanda told John about Jeff Denlon's progress in his game after he had just finished his first test in a freezer room where he wasn't able to save Danica Scott, the only witness of his son's death in an accident who refused to testify against the drunk driver, Timothy Young. When she told John that Lynn was ready to perform the surgery on him he encouraged Amanda to stay strong and told her about a letter for her in her desk.
Later on when Lynn made the last arrangements for the surgery, Amanda came in again and told John that Jeff had passed his second test and had managed to save Judge Halden who had sentenced Timothy Young to merely six months in prison. John was surprised by Jeff's fast progress. After that, Lynn explained the procedure of the operation to him, which was going to ease his headaches and would enhance his motor faculties, before she injected him with a local anaesthetic. Due to the complexity of the surgery Lynn had no choice but to do it while John was conscious. Lynn then partly cut off a part of his scalp in order to lay open the skull. After disinfecting the wound with alcohol, the hardest part of the surgery began. With the power drill, she bored four small holes in his skull. Afterwards, she used an electric circular saw to cut through the skullcap and finally removed a piece of it with a small retractor to take the pressure from head. After his vital functions stabilized, Lynn told him to raise his hand and flex his fingers. However, he suddenly suffered a breakdown, causing Amanda to burst into tears out of fear. While his heart-rate declined, he had hallucinations about Jill. Lynn was just barely able to save him. Due to his delirious state John confused her with his ex-wife and told her he loved her, causing Amanda to be jealous of the attention that John gave to her.
Distressed by the knowledge of John's impending death and her jealousy, Amanda went to her bed and took out a small metal box with medical supplies such as bandages and compresses. Remembering all the things she had done for John, she began to cut her inner thigh with a knife which helped her to deal with the stress of the situation. Once she had managed to calm down she bound her wound up and returned to John who was sleeping as he had to recover from the surgery as well as his breakdown. When she hugged him tightly, Lynn told her that he couldn't hear her and probably didn't even know she was there. This made Amanda even angrier and ultimately caused her to attack Lynn and grab her by her throat. As she was about to pull her gun, John, who had waken up by the noise, intervened and told her to put the weapon away. After some hesitation, she did as he told her and was harshly ordered to leave.
When she returned after a while, she saw John holding Lynn's hand. John told her he was fine and she could go away. However she refused to do so until John asked Lynn to leave the room so he could speak with Amanda alone. After a short discussion, Amanda left the room again and approached Lynn, telling her that John needed her. However she got suspicious by Lynn's behavior and examined the door which Lynn had opened via a screwdriver. When Amanda asked her why the door was open, Lynn embraced the opportunity and attacked her with a scalpel, causing the two of them to engage in a fight. After a brief struggle, Lynn finally managed to gain the upper hand and threatened to kill Amanda. However the latter was rarely impressed by her threats and told her that she would never get the key to the collar if she killed her. Lynn ripped off a key which was hanging on a chain around Amanda's neck. Unfortunately she quickly realized the key wasn't meant for the collar. When Amanda mockingly laughed at her she left angrily and went to John, leaving Amanda behind. (Saw III)
After Lynn disappeared, Amanda eventually lost her composure and started to cry. She went to her surveillance room and took out the letter from her desk which John had told her about. However the letter was actually written by Mark Hoffman. Hoffman knew about her involvement in the robbery of Jill Tuck's clinic long ago which had caused the death of her unborn child, Gideon. He threatened her to tell John the truth if she didn't do as he said, ordering her to kill Lynn Denlon. This further distressed Amanda and worsened her emotional state even more. To take revenge on Hoffman, she went to a room somewhere in the building in which Corbett Denlon, the daughter of Lynn and Jeff Denlon, had been held hostage and desperately warned her that she mustn't trust the one who would save her. As she already knew that Hoffman would be the one to free Corbett once the game was over, Amanda hoped that the girl would tell the cops about her warning and therefore give them a clue about Hoffman's identity as Jigsaw's apprentice. (Saw III, VI)
After talking to Corbett, Amanda returned to John's room one last time and told him that Jeff had finished his third test. Therefore, John congratulated Lynn and told her that she was now free to go. However, Amanda refused to unlock her collar as Jeff hadn't finished his trial yet. John repeatedly told her to let Lynn go and reminded her of the rules, but Amanda eventually pulled her gun and aimed it at Lynn, angrily stating that she doesn't deserve to live. Frightened by her threats, Lynn burst into tears and told her that Amanda had promised to let her go. When John told Lynn to put down the gun, claiming that it was Lynn who held her life in her hands, Amanda angrily yelled at him for giving Lynn the control over her. During their dispute, John asked her if this was how she had felt about her other test subjects, specifically Eric Matthews, and thereby revealed that he knew that John had manipulated her traps, giving her victims no chance to survive even if they managed to accomplish their tasks. John told her that he had forgiven her her past mistakes and tried to convince her to let Lynn go, as it would harm all of them otherwise. Amanda however still refused to do so, stating that John was just a murderer in her eyes just like her and that she didn't believe that anyone would ever change due to his games. When he told her that he had always just tried to help her, Amanda yelled at him to help her now as she needed him and asked her why Lynn was so important to him. He however claimed that she wasn't important to him but to her, which Amanda denied. He then tried to persuade her one last time to lower her weapon, when all of the sudden, Jeff appeared before the door of the room. As he and Lynn noticed each other, she went to him but was shot by Amanda in the back. Disappointed by this, John revealed to her that she had just shot Jeff's wife. Therefore, Jeff entered the room and shot Amanda in the throat with a gun he had found earlier. As she lay dying on the floor, John, saddened by her failure, revealed to her that he had tested her just like Lynn and told her that his initial instructions for Lynn, according to which she had to learn how to save a life, were meant for her as well. Realizing that she had been fooled by her mentor, Amanda eventually succumbed to her wound and died on the floor in front of John's eyes, who ended her test with the words "Game Over". (Saw III)
Just moments after her death, Special Agent Peter Strahm entered the room and was threatened by Jeff with her gun, after he had also killed John and thereby indirectly his wife. He aimed his gun at Strahm and demanded him to tell him where his daughter was, causing Strahm to shoot him in self-defense. Moments later, he was trapped in the room by Mark Hoffman, who locked the door behind him and turned the lights off. When Strahm found the hidden door out of the room he received an audio tape from John who told him to stay where he was until the police arrived. However Strahm refused to do so and entered the secret hallway behind the door, leaving the dead bodies of John, Amanda, Jeff and Lynn behind him. Shortly afterwards the forces of the Metropolitan Police Department finally arrived and took the corpses to the morgue where they were examined by Dr. Adam Heffner. (Saw IV, V, VI)
Amanda Young appeared in the animated comic Saw: Rebirth which served as a prequel to the first three films. When John Kramer went to the hospital to learn that he suffered from terminal cancer he went around the hospital and came across Amanda who was brought to the hospital after she had nearly died due to a heroin overdose. When John became Jigsaw and started his work he observed the patients he had met at the hospital, including Amanda.
Amanda also appeared in Saw: The Video Game, which was set right after the first movie. In the game, she was abducted by Jigsaw, again who brought her to the abandoned Whitehurst Insane Asylum to make her participate in another game due to her self-harming tendencies. However, this time she had to depend on the help of David Tapp, the former leading detective in the Jigsaw Case, who had interrogated her after her first test. She was the first victim to be saved by Tapp throughout his own series of tests. He eventually managed to free her from a trap and took her with her. Unfortunately, they were separated again when a mysterious figure named Pighead subdued and abducted her.
She was also mentioned in a newspaper article by Globe Staff writer Oswald McGillicutty. After her interrogation by Detective Tapp, she gave an interview on the steps of the city hall to tell the public how she felt during her traumatic experience. However, a press officer of the police kept her from publishing details about the case.
Amanda was also mentioned in several case files and audio tapes recorded by Detective Tapp. In the files he wrote down the details about her game and interrogation. He also mentioned that Detective Hoffman had followed her after her interrogation and the examination of her injuries by a doctor. After she had refreshed herself in her apartment she went to the International District to buy drugs from Sarah Blalok, who was in fact a police informant. According to her Amanda had asked her about her boyfriend Cecil Adams' whereabouts. Upon searching his apartment the police found a new notebook in which Cecil had written about the events that led to Jill Tuck's miscarriage during the robbery of her clinic.
Amanda made a brief appearance in the short film The Scott Tibbs Documentary which is available on the special edition DVD of Saw II. In the short film, she was harassed by a news reporter who wanted information on her traumatic experience when she was captured by Jigsaw. In response, Amanda punched the reporter in the face and stormed off.
Amanda was also mentioned in the documentary Full Disclosure Report, hosted by TV moderator Rich Skidmore. The documentary focused on the early crimes of Jigsaw. Deputy Jason Johnston told the audience about Amanda and her survival. According to him, she only received minor injuries, but speculated that her game would have a huge emotional impact on her for a long time.
Before she became John Kramer's accomplice and apprentice Amanda was a rather selfish woman who only cared about fueling her drug addiction to the point that she neglected and even prostituted herself to get a shot. In order to do so she had almost no scruples as seen when she convinced Cecil to rob Jill's clinic even though the latter had tried everything to help them. Furthermore Amanda was emotionally unstable and therefore couldn't deal with stress properly which caused her to develop self-harming tendencies.
However after Amanda survived her game and became an apprentice of John Kramer her life changed drastically. She changed her outward appearance by dressing less saucy and more unobtrusive and also overcame her addiction for heroin. As John was the first person in her life that she could actually relate to, she quickly became mentally dependent on him and saw him as both a teacher and a father. Despite this she wasn't able to withstand the stress of assisting him in his self-imposed mission to test people and therefore began to doubt his methods which caused her to return to her self-harming tendencies. This stress also worsened both her mental instability as well as her unscrupulousness which eventually resulted in her deliberately murdering her test subjects instead of giving them a chance to survive.
Her dependence on John also caused her to react jealous towards everyone else who got his attention. This was evident by her dislike for Mark Hoffman and Dr. Lynn Denlon, which soon turned into outright hatred. Towards others, she acted in an extremely arrogant way and tried to frighten them. Furthermore she regularly displayed an impulsive and physically aggressive behavior if someone incurred her wrath.
Based on this behavior, it can be assumed that Amanda didn't only suffer from Stockholm Syndrome, but also from a Borderline Personality Disorder.
Behind the Scenes
Several of the film crew behind the Saw film series have commented on the extent to which Amanda had been written to be one of the most important in the franchise. Marcus Dunstan has stated that "Shawnee Smith's character [Amanda] represents a tremendous viable, emotional thread throughout the narratives." Patrick Melton, further stated that "I don't think we could have effectively told the story of Hoffman and John Kramer without Amanda." Kevin Greutert further stated that "She [Smith] did a great job, and she's [Amanda's] such a peculiar aspect of the Jigsaw character, with the fact that he had these tender feelings for this weirdo." Through interviews with Shawnee Smith, it was revealed that Amanda's evolution into the killer she was was at the end of which was partially due to a horrible childhood. A scene in Saw III explores Amanda's self-injuring tendencies, and shows her cutting the inside of her thigh. This scene was not originally in the script, and instead there was a brief scene which Amanda is shown squeezing a razor blade (which was later replaced by a scene of Amanda squeezing a leather cutter), only hinting at Amanda self-injuring. Prior to filming, Smith had been reading "A Bright Red Scream," a book that explains the reasons one would turn to self-injury. It was Smith who insisted that a self-injury scene be filmed and put into the movie, believing it was necessary to show Amanda's tendencies for character depth.
Amanda displayed indications of guilt and remorse in her actions, as she had a nightmare of one of her victims in a deleted scene in the director's cut of Saw III. In her dream she was confronted by Adam for what she had done to him, thus further revealing the emotional turmoil that her character exhibited.
Jake Huntley wrote of the complexity of Amanda's character in the Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies. Huntley noted that although Amanda sets herself as notably different from the Jigsaw Killer, her attachment toward him and her desire to be like him are central to her character's state of mind. Huntley further points out that the biggest dilemma that Amanda's character faced is that she lost her sense of 'self' following her jaw splitter test in the first film. This is characterized by her claim to have been "reborn", symbolizing her neurotic desire to be somebody else other than herself. The viewer is confronted with a character who grapples with trying to understand her own identity as she simultaneously attempts to emulate Jigsaw's characteristics, while also setting herself apart as different from him. It is claimed by Huntley that it was this predicament that caused Amanda's gradual emotional break-down.
Speaking about her character, actress Shawnee Smith said that while she was not able to completely identify Amanda with that of herself, she was however, able to perceive several of Amanda's characteristics to be admirable nevertheless. Smith stated that: "When you first meet [Amanda], she's at the bottom, she can't go any lower and it's a combination of that and having nothing left to lose and finding someone to love and to sacrifice for. Obviously she's tragic, but ninety-five percent of her was capable of growing the strength to serve and sacrifice for another human being. Now that's rare and it takes strength, courage, practice, diligence and fearlessness to build that." Smith also stated that she attempted to find the human being in Amanda, and tried not to merely turn her into a "super-killer." Smith remarked of Amanda's relationship with Jigsaw that it was not so much an apprentice relationship, but that she perceived it as "a true friendship and a real partnership."
A critic from The Flesh Farm, a horror review site, claimed that: "I found Amanda the scariest part of the movie, not because Shawnee Smith can match the creepy gravitas of Tobin Bell... but the sheer notion of her transformation. Jigsaw, while not physically powerful, has the ability to reproduce his twisted world view in formerly sane people, including the ones he's 'tested.'"
Don Summer, a writer for Best-Horror-Movies.com, commented that Shawnee Smith did a "fantastic job" in her recurring role as Jigsaw's "trusty sidekick," Amanda.
A film critic for the website Angel Fire concurred that Tobin Bell and Shawnee Smith performed very well in their roles. Particularly commenting on the third film, he went on to claim that "while Bell's Jigsaw played a major role in Saw III, most of the film is carried along by Shawnee Smith as Amanda" whom he believed presented an "interesting and intriguing character." He also expressed admiration for the manner in which Amanda began as a minor character in the original movie, only to have her character's prominence surely yet gradually increase in the sequels. He claimed that "You've gotta love the way her character has been expanded in the series from a victim in the first "Saw" movie, to a trojan horse in the second film, and to a major player in the third film."
Tobin Bell and Shawnee Smith were nominated for the Spike TV Scream Award in the category of "Most Vile Villain" for their portrayals of Jigsaw and Amanda respectively in Saw III.
Following the release of Saw III, film critic David Medsker acknowledged the iconic status that character had attained, by labeling her as the "poster child for Stockholm Syndrome." It has therefore been suggested that she has become a fictional icon of the condition.
In a list compiled by Scott Collura for IGN of the top fifty villainesses in modern popular culture, entitled 'Top 50 Chicks Behaving Badly,' Amanda Young was ranked as number forty-two. Collura remarked that Amanda was so villainous that she made "a killer like Jigsaw look like the good guy..."
On Tom Cullen's list of the top five most noteworthy fictional female serial killers, as featured on Asylum Amanda was ranked as number four. In a list of all those featured in his list, Smith's Amanda would be the "most in need of psychiatric help."
Shawnee Smith has been acknowledge as a "scream queen" due to the roles she played in horror films, most notably her portrayal of Amanda in the Saw films. This culminated in the selection of Smith as a judge and host for the reality series Scream Queens, in which contestants competed for roles in Saw VI and Saw 3D.
Smith's depiction of Amanda in the Reverse Beartrap was used in promotional posters for the first film. The same image also appears on the soundtrack for the first film as well. A depiction of Amanda in this device was released as a collectible statue by Hollywood collectibles, indicating the iconic status that the character has obtained.
- On the commentary for the Saw III: Director's Cut DVD, Leigh Whannell stated that as a child, Amanda had been neglected and abused by her father. A deleted line from the original script for Saw III has Amanda telling John that her father used to lock her up in the dark for hours.
- In a deleted scene of Saw III Adam ran into Amanda on the way from his apartment, asking to take a picture of her.
- While separation of men and women is the usual procedure in American prisons, it is still possible, albeit unlikely, that Amanda and Donnie Greco were once incarcerated in the same penitentiary as John's puppet referred to him as Amanda's "cellmate." However, he may have just been referring to the fact that he was in the same room as her during her test.
- The first and only film in which Amanda does not appear is Jigsaw.
Appearances and References
|Saw||Saw II||Saw III||Saw IV||Saw V||Saw VI||Saw 3D||Jigsaw|
|Flashback||Appears||Appears||Archive, Corpse, & Mentioned||Archive, Corpse, & Mentioned||Flashback||Archive||Absent|
|Full Disclosure Report||The Scott Tibbs Documentary||Saw: The Video Game||Saw II: Flesh & Blood|
|Absent||Appears||Pictured & Mentioned||Recording & Mentioned||Appears||Mentioned|