Netflix takes us back to 2013 for their latest documentary, The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker, from director Collete Camden.
Caleb Lawrence McGillvary, aka Kai, was the subject of a viral video filmed by KMPH Channel 26 in 2013 that quickly became a viral sensation. Somewhere along the lines, while hitchhiking, Kai was picked up by Jett Simmons McBride, a somewhat obese man. Throughout their conversation, Jett informed Kai that he was Jesus Christ and had once raped a 14-year-old girl in the Virgin Islands.
Moments later, the duo hit a Fresno pedestrian with their car, and for reasons GOD only knows, Jett got out of the vehicle to attack a passing benevolent Samaritan. Kai pulls out a hatchet from his backpack and strikes Mr. McBride, shouting the short-lived buzzphrase "Smash, Smash, Suh-Mash!".
Naturally, Kai quickly becomes a media darling earning sponsorships, nightclub performances, and even a guest spot on Jimmy Kimmel. However, as the saying goes, everything that glitters isn't gold, and Kai is currently serving a 57-year prison sentence for murder.
I don't particularly remember Kai's story going viral, so I decided to give the documentary a view solely off the title. Since Kai is currently in the pokey, the filmmakers primarily interview those who played a part in Kai's rise and fall. Throughout the documentary, it's clear why Kai went viral, as all the quarks and qualms come across in his interviews.
One of the things I commend about the documentary is showcasing that just because someone says something humorous doesn't mean they are fit for show business. There's a great moment when Kai is on Jimmy Kimmel's show participating in a skit. Kai is unfocused or doesn't even care. Luckily Kimmel can reel the skit back in. I won't tell the story behind why Kai went to jail. However, after viewing some of his antics, it's not surprising.
The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker rubs a quick ninety minutes and is worth a one-time watch. The documentary should be a cautionary tale about the dangers of turning ordinary folks into overnight celebrities.
Final Grade: B
The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker is available to stream now on Netflix