The Daily Stream: Evil Dead Is The Beautifully Gory Reboot To End All Reboots

(Welcome to The Daily Stream, an ongoing series in which the /Film team shares what they've been watching, why it's worth checking out, and where you can stream it.)

The Movie: "Evil Dead" (2013)

Where You Can Stream It: Hulu, Tubi, Pluto TV

The Pitch: We all remember the original "The Evil Dead," I'm sure, but if not, here's a quick refresher: Five friends head out to a cabin in the woods to spend the weekend, but when they discover a cassette tape containing an ancient incantation that summons demons onto their path, one of the attendees (Bruce Campbell) must survive the onslaught of demonic possession that awaits his friends. That's the original's premise, one that has been widely celebrated, imitated, and expanded upon within the genre since its 1981 release.

In the reboot-slash-continuation installment from director Fede Alvarez — arguably his best film to date, and his first feature at that — the story changes a bit, updated for a modern era. This time, a girl named Mia (Jane Levy) comes to the cabin in the woods with three friends and her brother (Shiloh Fernandez) in search of a safe place to wait out a drug detox. However, the general gist is the same: When one of her pals finds a sinister spell book in the cabin basement with that same ancient incantation from the original inside, his curiosity sets the group down a path of hellish possession and brutal death.

Why it's essential viewing

The 2013 reboot of "Evil Dead" is widely looked at as one of the best horror reboot-slash-continuations of all time, and for several good reasons. The original reason is, of course, that "Evil Dead" fans were initially just happy to have the franchise revived in 2013 when Alvarez's film debuted. After "Army of Darkness" premiered in 1992, all things "Evil Dead" were effectively over — until this film breathed new life into the world of the Deadites in a way that feels truly satisfying to longtime lovers of the franchise.

Beyond just having the spirit of Ash and his friends back on the scene, the film has been praised for its different take on the original story, which was known for its nearly comical splatter and practical effects. Though it's never actually safe for the characters at any point, the original film's terror is often a bit funny — but the 2013 version is all gore, all terror, all the time. Nothing is funny and everything is coming to get you with absolutely zero mercy. The imagery is harsher, the effects are ten times more realistic and effective, and the film's main supporting actor, who seemingly takes over for Ash in a non-comedic way, is a strong performer whom you accompany on an unpredictably high-stakes journey. That's saying a lot, that the film maintains an air of unpredictability, considering this movie is technically a reboot.

A standout performance

If for nothing else, 2013's "Evil Dead" is worth the Halloweekend watch for Levy's standout performance. The actor made some positive waves when she starred in Alvarez's second feature three years later, "Don't Breathe," but I'd argue that "Evil Dead" is where she does her best work to date. It was one of her first film roles in the years that followed her departure from "Shameless" and leading role on "Suburgatory," two shows that were giving her interesting work but nothing to really bite off and chew on as an actor. "Evil Dead" allowed Levy to reintroduce herself and what she was capable of within the intrinsically interesting container of an elevated gore-heavy horror film. Those films didn't come around too often at the time, and Levy took it by the horns, much to her advantage. She makes this movie what it is, and it certainly made her a respected scream queen and final girl much revered. Friday before Halloween watch, secured.