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The synopsis doesn’t do this crazy documentary justice. It’s a wild but ultimately sad story. From hero to zero in just a few months, the story of the homeless, dangerous Kai is one to watch!
We’re reviewing Netflix True Crime documentary The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker, released on January 10, 2023.
Netflix is back with its infamous documentaries, helping to present and tell stories that viewers from around the world may never have known about, and this one is a weird, wild, weird treat for viewers.
The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker Review and Plot Summary
If you are too young to remember, have forgotten or are clueless (like me), Kai aka Caleb Lawrence McGillvary, was the subject of a 2013 viral video shot by KMPH Channel 26 that received national coverage. Basically Kai went viral very quickly before being viral was a real thing so he had no competition to get attention and everyone loved him and what he did. This documentary follows his insane story of his rise from hero to murder victim. That’s a lot, so I tried to compress as much as possible:
Kai was hitchhiked by a rather tall man (Jett Simmons McBride, £300) claiming to be Jesus Christ and then hit a pedestrian with their car (possibly racial assault). McBride has also told Kai that he once raped a 14-year-old girl in the Virgin Islands and then got out of the car to attack a woman who was trying to help with the car accident, and that’s when Kai got a hatchet out his backpack and attacked McBride, shouting “Smash, Smash, Suh-Mash!”. Kai hit him three times, two with the blunt side and one with the sharp side, before attempting to casually walk away and continue his life of hitchhiking
The camera caught up with him and told the world his story to make him famous. Then, later on in his nomadic travels, Kai was accused of murdering a 70-year-old man who made him stay the night, so things got bad very quickly. In three months, Kai went from hero superstar to wanted killer. Sounds crazy right? Something you have to see to believe. While there is a lot going on, the documentary explains and details it well, leaving the viewer not lost or confused, just speechless.
We have top-notch interviews with reporters (particularly one who was close to Kai), Kai’s mother, his cousin, and many law enforcement agencies who have had dealings with him. The disappointing thing is that we don’t hear anything from Kai himself. We are teased when the opening shot shows the reporter getting a call from Kai in prison, but that’s all we hear from him.
What makes this documentary interesting is not just the insane content, but how the media played such a role in his rise to fame and then his downfall. Kai himself comes across as a clueless nomad with no real social understanding and who has never had to take responsibility or responsibility in his life.
Then he is hounded by the media for entertainment and it seems like he almost has a god complex. The media clearly thought they had found a loner hero standing up for the average person, when in reality they had spotlighted a cold-blooded killer.
Reporters say he has charisma and a certain sweet charm about him, but to others and myself that freedom and lack of social awareness made him unpredictable and frightening. Kai’s actions of peeing on everything from the Hollywood Walk of Fame to the Jimmy Kimmel sign before his show screamed to me that he wasn’t a happy guy, but a teenage thug with no respect for those around him. Not to mention that he carries a hatchet and hits someone with it. Maybe that was because he was coming to someone’s aid, but it was still a violent act of which he was quite capable.
Kai was sentenced to 57 years in a maximum-security prison in New Jersey. I wanted to see Kai in this documentary, and while it’s suggested that he won’t let his mother come to him, there’s a part of me that thinks he’d love to show off a little and show himself off preach a camera. Then again, he’s so fickle, so who knows? This is a unique story that is definitely worth seeing.
Is The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker good on Netflix?
Yes – as is the case with true crime documentaries, this one is packed with weirdness and information and really makes you question the media, the people and the personality of Kai. The one hour and twenty seven minutes of this documentary goes by so quickly while you are glued to the screen trying to unravel and understand this story and everything around it.
What do you think of the Netflix true crime documentary The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhike?? Comment below.
https://readysteadycut.com/2023/01/10/the-hatchet-wielding-hitchhiker-review/ The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker Review – from homeless hero to stone cold killer