January 20, 2016 at 01:34 PM EST

After taking on zombies for eight months of the year, you would figure Walking Dead star Lauren Cohan would want a break from anything too dark and scary during her annual hiatus. So what the hell is she doing starring in a new horror movie called The Boy that opens this Friday, Jan. 22?

As Cohan tells us, that was not originally the plan. “The thing I want most is to either go on vacation or laugh,” says Cohan. “So this was surely against my resolutions. I read it and I thought this could be a bad idea for my sanity after eight months of zombies so I better not.”

But it was that reluctance that then spurred the actress to take on the role of a nanny tasked with looking after a young boy named Brahms who turns out to be a doll the parents treat as a human. “It’s like if I see something that’s challenging to me and I don’t do it, then I lose respect for myself.”

Besides, while The Boy and Walking Dead may both be scary, at least Cohan’s new film is a different kind of scary. “This is like this invisible threat,” says Cohan. “That’s what creeps me out about this film. It’s not like she can fight it physically. I mean she, for reasons we find out, decides she’s going to persevere in the house and it’s that ridiculous thing where you’re in a house by yourself and you don’t know if you have an overactive imagination or you’re being silly or there’s something actually going on. I think that this is just a different set of unnerving fear or destabilizing of the mind. With Walking Dead, we can identify the threat and if you don’t feel strong emotionally you can at least be strong physically. Whereas here it’s hard to reach someone when they sort of go to the other side like this and get affected.”

RELATED VIDEO: Lauren Cohan reveals her favorite day ever on set of The Walking Dead


We asked Cohan what makes dolls so damn creepy, and she even got a bit creeped out just answering. “I think dolls are creepy because we give them energy. We give them life and they’re inanimate. I’m sitting here and there’s a little doll of Maggie across from me, looking at me as I am saying this about dolls!”

A doll of yourself staring back at you while you talk about how creepy dolls are? Sounds like we already have our sequel!

AMC’s zombie thriller, based on the classic comic book serial created by Robert Kirkman.
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