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12th Jan 2023

Netflix’s new documentary could be 2023’s answer to The Tinder Swindler

Rory Cashin

For fans of true-crime stories, this is an absolute must-watch.

At the start of 2022, Netflix released The Tinder Swindler, a jaw-dropping documentary that became one of the most-talked-about releases for the platform, and the single most-watched release on Netflix for all of 2022.

They’re obviously hoping to have the same result with this early-in-the-year release, and it already has our attention thanks to its title: The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker.

And just like The Tinder Swindler, the streaming platform have smartly not tried to drag the story out too long over four hour-long episodes, as The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker comes in at a tight 85 minutes long.

The documentary tells the story of Kai Lawrence, and how he become a viral sensation in 2013 after a video showed him saving a woman from a man trying to kill her by “smashing” his head with a hatchet.

News organisations and celebrities around America queued up to talk to and praise the “hero”, but before too long under that spotlight, some stories about Lawrence’s personal life began to be shared. He was soon on an extremely steep downward spiral that would result in another death.

While the documentary has just arrived, early word from critics has been very positive:

Chicago Sun-Times – “Whether you remember the details from this story or it’s all new to you, writer-director Colette Camden’s Netflix documentary, The Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker is an early-year contender for any list of the most fascinating true-crime films of the year.”

Leisure Byte – “A story about a beloved viral sensation who faced it all, it has everything that will make you sit up and take notice. There’s drama, humour, and just the right amount of questions and answers to keep your curiosity piqued.”

Rolling Stone – “Effective as an indictment against media rapaciousness, as well as their treatment of the homeless and mentally unwell.”

The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker is available to watch on Netflix right now.