More than 20 years have passed since my last viewing of Dark City, but I was obsessed with it when it came out in theaters back in 1998 and it was one of the first DVDs that I ever bought — after The Matrix, of course. (Fun bit of trivia: The Matrix, which came out in 1999, actually reused some of Dark City’s sets.) Dark City is all about atmosphere in a way that I wish more genre movies were. (See also: Blade Runner.) Director Alex Proyas dials up the atmosphere to ridiculous levels, from the persistently nocturnal setting to the vintage 1950s aesthetic to the ominous, expressionistic production design — and I love it. (I’m currently reading a collection of Mister X comics, and I have to think that it was an influence alongside Terry Gilliam, Fritz Lang, and Katsuhiro Otomo.) This was my first time watching Proyas’ director’s cut, which thankfully removed the spoiler-ridden opening narration and includes some new scenes that further elaborate on our protagonist’s strange new abilities. Proyas is apparently in the process of developing a Dark City series, which I’m unsure about. This movie existing as a strange, singular gem from the late ’90s is part of what makes it so special. To delve more deeply into its fantastical world might break the spell.