The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker: Release date, trailer and story of Netflix's newest crime documentary

A new Netflix documentary tracks the rise and fall of 'Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker' Kai Lawrence, the viral sensation who went from public hero to facing first-degree murder charges.

By Alex Williams Published: 13 January 2023 - 2.51pm
Netflix The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker on Netflix

Another year, another enthralling crime documentary from Netflix.

Their latest release focuses on Kai Lawrence or, as he’s more commonly known, The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker.

Currently serving a life sentence for first-degree murder, this story shows the rise and fall of the once lauded viral homeless hero, and the allegations and prosecutions that emerged alongside his new-found international fame.

The documentary retells the story of the idiosyncratic sensation through old footage and accounts from those involved in his story, including estranged family members, police officials and the media, notably Jessob Reisbeck, the KMPH employee who exclusively interviewed Kai initially.

Here's everything you need to know about The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker, available to watch on Netflix UK now.

The Hatchet Wielding Hitchiker Trailer

The trailer was released by Netflix on 13 December.

What is The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker about?

The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker documents the true story of Caleb Lawrence McGillvary, who goes by the name of ‘Kai’. He shot to fame in 2013 when he used a hatchet to “smash, smash, smash” a man over the head multiple times to save a woman from being attacked and killed. The interview he gave shortly after the incident went viral on YouTube, and has now been viewed eight million times.

His eccentric and free-spirited personality led to overnight worldwide attention that even resulted in a bizarre appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel show and a request from Justin Bieber for a musical collaboration after Kai’s guitar and vocal skills became apparent.

Sadly, Kai was revealed not to be the nomadic hero everyone had initially thought when he was charged with the murder of a New Jersey lawyer. The documentary goes through his rise to fame and the circumstances around the murder, for which Kai is still serving his sentence.

Expect other bizarre events and altercations including strained family relations, reality TV show contracts, multiple public urination incidents and suspicious comments from Kai about the initial viral incident.

When is The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker released?

Netflix

The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker was released on Netflix UK on 10 January 2023. 

It is currently (13 January) the number 1 movie on Netflix UK.

How long is The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker?

Unlike many other Netflix crime documentaries there aren't multiple episodes to binge; The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker is a feature documentary film that is 1 hour 25 minutes long.

Where is Kai The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker now?

Netflix

Kai is currently serving a 58-year sentence in New Jersey State Prison for the murder of Joseph Galfy. He has appealed this decision multiple times with no success, with the most recent attempt coming in 2019. He maintains to this day that his actions were self-defence against Galfy.

Watch The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker on Netflix now