The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker review: Run of the mill documentary fails to impress

The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker is a documentary film about a transient named Kai who in the space of a few months went from being a viral internet sensation to being accused of murder. The film is streaming on Netflix.


Caleb “Kai” Lawrence was a homeless person who hitchhiked his way across America living a carefree life without any responsibilities. He found himself the center of attention when he rescued a woman being attacked by hitting her attacker in the head with a hatchet.

Kai gave an interview to a local news station and quickly became known as “the hatchet-wielding hitchhiker” and his interview became a viral sensation online.

Everyone wanted a piece of him and Kai even managed to make an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, building a reputation for himself before things spiraled.

Despite his charm and likability, Kai demonstrated moments of instability and he was considered a loose cannon by some. Within months of being interviewed on live television, Kai was arrested for the murder of a 74-year-old lawyer in New Jersey.

While he claimed that he was raped and attacked the man in self-defense, the evidence suggested that he attacked the man in a fit of rage with no remorse. Kai ended up in jail and is currently serving a 57-year prison sentence for his crime.


The director does a good job of getting the perspectives of different people painting a well-rounded picture of what Kai was like. While many people focused on the positives of his nature, there were many who could see the danger he posed right from the start.


The stakes are kept incredibly low and despite being an intriguing human interest piece, at no point does the documentary feel like a must-watch.

There’s a total lack of enhancing background score and the entire documentary mostly relies on the talking heads format interspersed with archive footage of Kai.

His troublesome childhood and the details around the murder aren’t explored enough either and it feels like a half-hearted attempt at covering his life.


The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker takes a mildly intriguing story and adds some extra depth to it without truly turning it into a thrilling tale of a troubled individual.

The documentary brushes through a lot of key information and the director serves up a very basic film that is easily forgettable.

The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker
The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker review: Run of the mill documentary fails to impress 1

Director: Colette Camden

Date Created: 2023-01-10 13:30

Editor's Rating:

Also Read: The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker ending explained: Where is Kai now?

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