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Alfonso Cuarón confirms controversial view on his Harry Potter movie

Everyone knows Prisoner of Azkaban is the best Harry Potter movie, but now the director, Alfonso Cuarón, has confirmed something else we suspected to be true.

Emma Watson as Hermione Granger, Alan Rickman as Severus Snape, and Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter in the Prisoner of Azkaban

It would be pointless for anyone to argue against Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban being the best in the franchise. That debate is over, but people have often whether it is a horror movie or not, and now we finally have a definitive answer thanks to Alfonso Cuarón.

Among the eight entries in the Harry Potter series, you’re likely to find some of the best fantasy movies of all time. But, when watching the Harry Potter movies in order, there is a discernibly darker tone to the third installment, the Prisoner of Azkaban. Specifically, the inclusion of the scariest, and possibly the best Harry Potter villains, the Dementors, pushes the film into the territory of horror.

There has long been a discussion as to whether Prisoner of Azkaban is, by definition, a horror. Well, we needn’t wonder any longer, because the man who made the best movie in the series has had his say.

Speaking to Total Film about his work in the Wizarding World, Alfonso Cuarón was asked whether he intended Prisoner of Azkaban to be a horror movie, and the answer is clear.

“Well, definitely. When I read the book, there were two elements that I liked. There was the horror film element, but also the noir aspect of it. In a way, when I was doing it, the model was more of the German cinema at the end of the silent era, and the transition into the talkies, like Fritz Lang to Murnau,” he said.

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“You can see that some of Fritz Lang’s films are kind of noir, but, at the same time, they have kind of horror elements to them. And, more importantly, particularly with Fritz Lang, through the genre, he was trying to convey – or just to project – the anxieties of his time. I think that’s what J.K. Rowling did with Potter, it was a reference of our times, of human behaviour,” Cuarón added.

I mean, one look at those Dementors was enough to give me nightmares for weeks when I first saw the film, so lord knows how the Harry Potter cast dealt with that trauma. Prisoner of Azkaban has always been a horror movie in my eyes, and now I have Alfonso Cuarón to back me up.

For more from the Wizarding World, check out our list of the best Harry Potter characters or dive into everything we know about the Cursed Child release date and the Harry Potter TV series release date. Speaking of fear, here’s why Daniel Radcliffe was terrified of filming one Harry Potter scene. If you’re done with Potter, look ahead to new movies like The Marvels instead.