Is Tamara Home? THE STRANGERS Invaded Homes And Our Collective Psyche

Director Bryan Bertino on his modern horror classic 15 years later.

By Angel Melanson · @HorrorGirlProbs · May 30, 2023, 3:05 PM EDT

Fifteen years after its release, Bryan Bertino's The Strangers can frequently be found on just about every "best of" list pertaining to the horror genre. Case in point, Shudder's (Chainsaw Award Winning) 101 Scariest Horror Movie Moments Of All Time. And there's good reason for this. Bertino preyed upon our fears, invading our sanctuary, bringing the horror into our homes via home invasion by way of a faceless trio of assailants, giving a sinister new meaning to "Because you were home." I vividly remember taking my younger (too young) sister to see this one in the theaters, and at one point, we both looked at each other and wondered if we should leave because we were just too fuckin scared. We stayed. And have never been the same since.

This home invasion story left an indelible mark on the genre and captivated audiences worldwide. The movie follows a young couple, Kristen and James, who become the targets of three masked assailants while staying at an isolated vacation home. What set The Strangers apart was its ability to tap into primal fears and evoke a sense of relentless terror. Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman, managed to convey vulnerability and fear in a way that shook audiences to the core, with an emphasis on the unsettling notion that the true horror lies not in supernatural creatures, but in the darkness that resides within ordinary human beings, "just because."

Back in October, we got to chat with Bertino about his modern horror classic. Check out our full interview below, and find out answers to our burning questions, like "Who the hell is Tamara?"

Editor's Note: This interview was conducted in October 2022, and the screening series mentioned has come and gone! Hopefully you were lucky enough to attend.


And then lock your doors, grab a baseball bat, and watch The Strangers to celebrate 15 years of extreme anxiety and dread.