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Murder Mystery 2 Director Jeremy Garelick Wants You To Be Able To Forget It's A Sequel

"Murder Mystery 2" director Jeremy Garelick has reason to celebrate after the comedic adventure dropped on March 31. The filmmaker's efforts to follow up Kyle Newacheck's original "Murder Mystery" garnered over 64 million hours viewed on Netflix during its first week on the streaming service. But if Garelick had his druthers, the director would prefer audiences not look at the new comedy as a sequel.

"When Todd [Phillips] and I sat down to brainstorm 'Hangover 2,' we started by just saying, 'Okay, what good comedy sequels have there been?' It's a very short list — almost zero if you're not counting animation — and it's hard to do a high quality sequel," Garelick said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

Unfortunately, Garelick's movie-making instincts concerning the dreaded consequences of sequels are on point. Even with Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston reprising their roles of Nick and Audrey Spitz respectively, "Murder Mystery 2" is performing like a lackluster sequel usually does. At the time of this writing, "Murder Mystery 2" is floundering in the eyes of many people, with critics and viewers alike giving the film tepid reviews and justifying Garelick's sequel fears.

It's a sequel, but you don't need to have seen the original

Director Jeremy Garelick's "Murder Mystery 2" picks up four years after the events of the first film. The Spitzes — former cop Nick and hairdresser Audrey — are still married and back on the case for the sequel. But Garelick doesn't feel any compunction about the fact that he says fans should forget "Murder Mystery 2" is a sequel.

"When I saw this opportunity and read the script, for me, I really wanted to approach this as a new movie and say, 'You can watch this movie whether you've seen the first one or you haven't,'" Garelick told The Hollywood Reporter. "I try to keep the structure of a movie without too many references to the original movie." 

"And only later, after we had done several drafts, went back and put some of the references to the original film," Garelick continued. "You can enjoy it either way." Now, whether a viewer considers "Murder Mystery 2" as a sequel or not, it's still disappointing to witness the low ratings it's been putting up so far. In the film's defense, though, the original didn't exactly knock critics off their soapboxes or thrill audiences either. In fact, "Murder Mystery" performed even worse statistically than its follow-up with a Tomatometer rating of 44% and an audience score of 45% on Rotten Tomatoes. So, as another lackluster Adam Sandler/Jennifer Aniston teaming once taught everyone: "Just Go With It."