Ryder makes her small-screen debut as the mother of a young boy who disappears

By Gillian Telling
Updated May 18, 2016 09:30 AM
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Credit: Curtis Baker/Netflix

Winona Ryder is headed back to the ’80s with Netflix’s Stranger Things.

PEOPLE has an exclusive First Look at the series, which takes place in 1983 Indiana, where residents are shocked after a young boy vanishes into thin air under mysterious circumstances. Ryder plays Joyce Byers, the mother of the boy who disappeared as well as another son.

“I think the audience will love the nostalgic voyage back in time before technology had completely took over,” Ryder tells PEOPLE of the ’80s setting. “Kids were asked to put their toys away at dinner – not their phones. Yet, there were astronauts were going to space and government conspiracies loomed. It was just such a different world back then.”

After the disappearance of her son, friends, family and officials try to solve the case and end up stumbling across a mystery that features secret government experiments and supernatural forces.

“It’s all about trying something new,” Ryder, 44, says of taking on the role. “This is a genre that I enjoy watching, but haven’t necessarily explored before, which drew me to the project.”

The actress, 44, adds that she enjoyed working with younger actors on the series, which runs for eight episodes.

“They are all so unbelievably talented,” she says.

Stranger Things premieres July 15 on Netflix.