By Piya Sinha-Roy
March 11, 2018 at 09:00 AM EDT
Brian Douglas/Aviron Pictures

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When Christina Hendricks got the call to star in a sequel to 2008’s The Strangers, a movie that she said was the “scariest movie I’ve ever seen, and I love scary movies,” the decision was a no-brainer.

“I just said yes immediately. If the script is as good as the last one and they can make it as good as the last one, then I definitely want to do it,” Hendricks said.

The actress stars in Aviron Pictures’ The Strangers: Prey at Night, out March 9, as the matriarch of a dysfunctional family whose one-night stopover at a trailer park turns deadly as a group of masked strangers stalk them. “I get to scream and run and be terrified, and I really was actually terrified, that’s not fake terror!” she said.

The Strangers: Prey at Night comes a decade after The Strangers starring Liv Tyler, a highly tense thriller in which a couple are hunted in their own home by killers wearing creepy masks and with no obvious motives.

The sequel is the first horror film for Hendricks, who spent nine years as the fiery fan-favorite Joan on AMC’s Emmy-winning Mad Men and recently returned to TV in NBC’s dark comedy Good Girls.

To deliver the loud, high-pitched screams that she needed to emit as her character is chased by a knife-wielding murderer, Hendricks said she asked the actress playing the killer to not put on her disfigured doll-face mask until they were actually filming the scene.

“We were all together in a small room and it felt, just even talking about it right now, I’m remembering the fear,” Hendricks said.

Doing a horror film seemed inevitable for the actress, who said she often gravitates towards gritty, twisted stories such as Ryan Gosling’s eerie nightmare-ish 2014 fantasy Lost River and Nicolas Winding Refn’s stylistic 2016 Los Angeles vampire noir Neon Demon.

“I definitely am attracted to darker pieces. I think it’s interesting to explore that side of human behavior,” Hendricks said. She added, laughing, “I don’t know, what’s wrong with me?”