Kristen McKay
Character Information
Name: Kristen McKay
Gender: Female
Age: 25-30
Alignment: Good
Relationship Information
Relationships: James Hoyt (boyfriend)
Friends: James Hoyt
Other Information
Status: Deceased
Series Information
First Appearance: The Strangers
Last Appearance: The Strangers
Portrayed by: Liv Tyler

Kristen McKay is a primary protagonist in The Strangers. She is portrayed by Liv Tyler.


The Strangers

Kristen and her boyfriend, James, arrive at James' childhood summer home, tired and irritable after a long evening at a friend's wedding reception. It is revealed that James proposed to Kristen and she refused. Shortly after 4 a.m., there is a knock at the door, surprising since the house is so remote and far from any civilization. A young blonde woman, whose face is obscured by low lighting, asks for Tamara. When told that she is at the wrong house, she leaves with the casual caveat that she will "see them later."

Due to the tension between them, James leaves to go for a drive and purchase a pack of cigarettes for Kristen; before he departs, he starts a fire in the hearth. Shortly after he leaves, Kristen realizes the chimney flue is closed, and attempts to open it; while she does this, smoke emanating from the fire triggers a smoke alarm. Kristen attempts to disarm the smoke alarm when she is startled by another knock at the door; she drops the alarm on the floor and retreats to the bedroom, unnerved. She calls James' cellphone from the landline, but their call is cut short. When she returns to the living room, she sees the smoke alarm now sitting on a chair, and realizes someone else has been in the house. When she hears a noise from the backyard, she arms herself with a knife, and opens the curtains to find a man wearing a sack mask, staring at her. Panicked, she stumbles into the hallway, and watches as the front door opens. When she goes to push the door closed, she sees the blonde woman outside, now wearing a doll mask. After locking the door, Kristen hides in the bedroom and hears people outside banging violently against the walls of the house.

The noise eventually stops and James returns to the house. The couple attempt to leave in James' car but a third masked stranger in a pin-up girl mask rear-ends them with a pickup truck, forcing them to flee. Back inside the house, Kristen and James find a shotgun and wait for the intruders in a bedroom. One of the strangers puts a country record on the turntable, filling the house with music.

Kristen runs to the shed. She finds the radio, but the pin-up girl smashes it. Kristen rushes back to the house, where she is incapacitated by the masked man. Both James and Kristen are now unconscious.

When James and Kristen awaken, it is morning, and they are tied to chairs in the living room with the masked strangers standing before them. Kristen asks them why they are doing this, to which the blonde woman replies, "because you were home." The strangers then unmask themselves to the couple offscreen, and take turns stabbing the couple in the stomach and chest before leaving.


  • The original draft of The Strangers 2 (written in 2009) would've seen the return of Liv Tyler as Kristen in which she and her family would be killed in the opening of the film.
  • It is unknown if Liv Tyler was ever expected to be brought back for Prey at Night and there is no direct mention of her.
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