Amanda Young is a fictional character in the Saw film series. She is portrayed by Shawnee Smith. At first a minor character in the original film, her role expanded in the sequels until she became one of the most important characters in the series, being the only character besides Jigsaw himself to have been featured in every Saw film to date.
Appearances in films
Amanda's first appearance was as a minor character in the 2004 film Saw. She was the only known survivor of the Jigsaw Killer (John Kramer), a man who abducts people he sees as unappreciative of their lives and forces them into death traps. Her trap is depicted in a flashback while it is described to police and Dr. Lawrence Gordon: she wakes up with a device attached to her head set to rip her jaws open and is forced to kill her cellmate in order to get the key to her trap from his stomach. Detective David Tapp reveals that Amanda was targeted by Jigsaw for that game due to the fact that she was a drug addict. At the end of the scene, she acknowledges of Jigsaw, nevertheless, that "He helped me."
It is revealed in Saw II that Amanda started using heroin in jail. She was sentenced to prison after being framed by Detective Eric Matthews, for a crime she did not commit. She appears in most of the film as one of the subjects Jigsaw traps in the Nerve Gas House along with several other people who Detective Matthews had framed, as well as the detective's son, Daniel. As the last surviving female in the Nerve Gas House, it seems that her character is filling the role of a final girl of the film, yet this is a red herring. In a twist ending it is revealed that Amanda is working with Jigsaw, seeing him as a father figure and agreeing to become his apprentice. Amanda claims that the test she experienced in the first film ultimately saved her life, and this is what caused her to join Jigsaw. She survives the nerve gas house, saved from the violent victim Xavier by Daniel, and upon the arrival of the elder Matthews she abducts him as her first "test subject" and rescues Jigsaw from his custody. Amanda expresses vengeful tendencies toward Eric as she tells him that the "tables have turned" and that she will make him experience what it is like to be imprisoned, as she traps him in a bathroom to rot. At the end of the film Amanda claims that she intends to carry on Jigsaw's work after he dies.
Saw III specified that Amanda had been working with Jigsaw since the time of the first film, that she is the kidnapper of one of the film's protagonists, Adam Stanheight, and that she had killed Adam out of guilt shortly after said film. Flashbacks Saw III also clarified that Matthews had escaped from his trap, and engaged in a vicious fight with Amanda for the whereabouts of his son. Amanda succeeded in defeating him, and left Matthews lying on the floor.
By the third film, Amanda is depicted as ignoring Jigsaw's modus operandi by creating inescapable traps that kill the subject regardless of whether or not they solve the test correctly. She also displays tendencies of cutting herself under stress. The dying Jigsaw decides to put Amanda through a test to see if she is still stable enough to carry on his work by having her work with Dr. Lynn Denlon to keep him alive while he oversees the tests of Jeff Reinhart. During the film, Amanda acts abusively toward Lynn, jealous of the attention Jigsaw is giving her, even having a fight with her at one point. At one point, she goes into another room to find the envelope that Jigsaw told her to read before his surgery, she finds a letter inside it which causes her even more distress, and upon reading its contents (which are unknown to the viewer), she breaks down and cries. The contents are revealed in Saw VI. After hearing John unwittingly profess his love for Lynn during surgery (when in fact he was delirious and thought he was with his ex-wife, Jill) she refuses to remove the "Shotgun Collar" from Lynn, that will kill her if Jigsaw flatlines (dies). A heated argument about John's ethics and whether or not Lynn learned anything ensues, revealing that Amanda made her traps inescapable because she felt that the victims wouldn't have learned anything from the test they were put through (as she herself, despite John's "help" does not feel cured from her various troubles), and ending with Amanda shooting Lynn in the abdomen. Jeff appears and shoots Amanda fatally in the neck. As she dies, a saddened Jigsaw explains the nature of her test – revealing Lynn and Jeff as husband and wife – and expresses disappointment at her effectively defeating the point of his actions by giving her victims no chance to learn from the experience with her.
During Saw IV, Amanda's ability to pick up the much heavier Kerry's unconscious body is questioned by the FBI, leading them to believe another accomplice is helping Jigsaw (it is not yet known how the FBI knew that Amanda was an accomplice of Jigsaw, as Kerry and the police weren't aware of her involvement while investigating Troy's trap, four days before Kerry's body was found). It is discovered that the events of Saw III and Saw IV occurred at the same time, revealing that Amanda was alive during the events of the fourth film. Her blood-covered corpse is found by Agent Peter Strahm in the makeshift operating room just moments after her death. It is later revealed that Lieutenant Mark Hoffman, Jigsaw's other apprentice, wrote the upsetting letter to Amanda in the previous movie.
Amanda reappeared in Saw V, though only through flashbacks and voice appearances. On August 7, 2008, Shawnee Smith confirmed in an interview with Bloody-Disgusting that she had heard she would indeed feature in the fifth installment of Saw. However, she claimed that she was never on set for the fifth film. Smith guessed that her reappearance will most likely be through the use of archive footage that had been previously filmed.
In the fifth film, Hoffman questioned, in a flashback, why Amanda would be needed to be involved in the second films' nerve gas house trap. Amanda is briefly seen in this flashback, lying seemingly unconscious on the ground as Jigsaw and Hoffman set up that game. In another flashback, in the operating room seen in Saw III, Hoffman questioned Jigsaw as to why he was letting emotional attachment get in the way of his perception of Amanda. Hoffman also predicted that she would fail Jigsaw. Hoffman left the room through a secret exit merely seconds before Amanda entered the room with Lynn.
It was also shown that following Amanda's survival of her test in the first film, John also showed Amanda to Jill to prove to Jill that his method of rehabilitation was the only one that worked. It is hinted that Amanda was a patient at Jill's clinic once and that Jill had given up on her. Amanda told Jill that John's methods had helped her. Jill believed her and ended up becoming something of an accomplice to Jigsaw.
Amanda appeared in a flashback with John and Hoffman as they set Timothy Young into his trap. It was shown that Amanda and Hoffman, although both apprentices to Jigsaw, had a very competitive and tense rivalry with each other. Amanda openly expressed doubt in Hoffman's abilities to set up the mechanics of their devices properly, remarking that she thought he was only useful for "heavy lifting". Hoffman in turn openly expressed his dislike for her, saying he was the one who truly cherishes his life. Amanda also questioned whether Hoffman should be tested, reflecting upon the fact that she had already passed a test. Amanda's close emotional attachment and care for Jigsaw was also further displayed. Amanda appeared awkward and uncomfortable when she and John later ran into Jill as they exited the room. It was also confirmed that the masked figure that kidnapped Lynn in Saw III was indeed Amanda.
Another flashback showed Hoffman had plotted to sabotage Amanda's final test in Saw III. Hoffman, knowing of Amanda's involvement in Jill's miscarriage, blackmailed Amanda into killing Lynn Denlon in Saw III through the letter he left for her in Saw IV. In the letter, Hoffman told Amanda he would inform John of Amanda's indirect role in the incident. Feeling the pressure not to disappoint her mentor, Amanda complied with Hoffman's threats and shot Lynn. This resulted in Amanda's failure to pass the final test Jigsaw had set for her and thus her death.
Removed and altered content
A deleted scene in Saw III shows Amanda killing Matthews viciously, cutting his body several times while on top of him. Darren Lynn Bousman fought to keep this scene in, but the producers removed it because they thought it would be better to leave the door open for Matthews' return in Saw IV. Leigh Whannell confirms on the Saw III DVD commentary that Amanda murdering Eric was the first time she killed out of spite and that it was this incident which caused her straying from Jigsaw's intentions.
Also in Saw III, there were two other deleted scenes detailing Amanda. The first was a flashback which showed Amanda meeting Adam in his apartment building prior to abducting him for Jigsaw's game. Adam complimented Amanda's hair, gave her a flyer promoting a friend's concert and flirtatiously took a photo of her. The second deleted scene took place between Amanda and Lynn in which they engaged in a catfight that left Amanda bleeding at the arms. Both of these scenes were included on the special features of the Saw III DVD.
In the Director's Cut of Saw VI there are some extra dialogue between her and Cecil in which Amanda convinces Cecil to enter the clinic by claiming, "I've been good to you." Also in the Director's Cut a scene was added after the end credits in which she approaches the room Corbett Denlon is locked in (during the events of Saw III) and frantically tells her to "Not trust the one who saves you."
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