Christina Hendricks relishes in the chills of The Strangers: Prey at Night

Former Mad Men star says she was a ‘huge fan’ of The Strangers before signing on for sequel.

Martin Henderson and Christina Hendricks star in The Strangers: Prey at Night.

Elevation Pictures

Martin Henderson and Christina Hendricks star in The Strangers: Prey at Night.

Christina Hendricks is thankful for a warm jacket. “I was shooting on a mountain only hours ago,” she says on the line from Calgary. “It is below zero but they are doing a great job of keeping me warm. Those parkas are no joke.”

The Knoxville, Tenn., native hasn’t called to talk about the weather in Canada, however. She’s on the phone to discuss her new film, the creepy killer flick The Strangers: Prey at Night.

The former Mad Men star plays a mother who moves her family to a remote community in an effort to put some distance between her daughter and the bad influences of the city. There’s no one around except for three masked psycho killers, Dollface, Man in the Mask and Pin-Up Girl who emerge from the woods with knives, axes and bad intentions.

The creep-fest is a sequel of sorts to The Strangers, a 2008 home invasion film that saw the masked marauders attack an unsuspecting family. It’s also one of Hendricks’ favourite movies.

“I am a huge, huge fan,” she says. “I’ve talked about it for years. I think it is the scariest movie I have ever seen in my life and I reference it all the time. It was coincidental that they came to me. My manager said, ‘I don’t know if you are interested in doing a horror film about The Strangers.’ And I screamed, ‘The Strangers! Are you kidding me?’”

She says the villains of The Strangers: Prey at Night unsettle her more than Dracula, Frankenstein or anything that goes bump in the night because there’s nothing supernatural about them. But at the same time there’s nothing natural about the horrors the all-too-human monsters unleash on the newcomers.

“It’s my absolute worst nightmare,” she says, “people messing with you just because. It’s not a devil thing. It’s not a monster thing. It is not an apocalypse. It is just people coming to mess with you because they can.”

The film was shot in rural Kentucky. “It is beautiful during the day but when the sun goes down it is scary,” she says. “Everything is scarier in the dark.

“I thought, ‘Certainly I won’t be that scared. I know what’s going on,’ but I was actually scared. In the moments before we had to get ourselves worked up so Bailee (Madison, who plays her daughter) and I would go off to a different area and gear ourselves up before they yelled action. You can’t turn it on immediately. You have to get yourself in that state but in between we got along so well. We listened to music and had a laugh.”

She says she enjoyed everyone on set but didn’t hang out with the entire cast.

“They did keep a little bit more separate,” she says of the actors playing the masked killers.

“In the beginning we even said, ‘Can we not see them in their masks until the last moment?’ because they are so scary. It is kind of hard to be chatting and hanging out and having a snack with Dollface and the next thing you know she says, ‘I’m just going to go over here and kill you!’ ‘OK! I’ll see you in a minute.’ A little mystery helps.”

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