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The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker is the remarkable story of Kai McGillvary a good-looking young homeless guy – a surfer-drifter who is catapulted to internet stardom when he saves a woman who is being attacked. A local TV news interview goes viral and since he’s articulate, kooky, and even plays a mean guitar… the media give chase. He might even get his own reality show. But what the public does not see is the real Kai, who is both troubled and troublesome. Outwardly, he lives a kind of hippy version of the American freedom-dream – but in reality he’s running away from a disturbed childhood. He’s easily triggered to violence. Three months after his moment of fame, he kills a man he claims was trying to rape him. Kai is now serving 57 years in jail for murder one, but appealing – hoping to prove that it was self-defence.

Apart from being a rollercoaster ride, following Kai’s rise and fall, the film touches on deeper themes. What happens when someone like this is suddenly sucked into our insatiable need for new content online? Who is really responsible when the story takes a darker turn?


  • Netflix
  • January 2023