Select Page

“DEAD END” and “THE POWER OF THE STRIKE:” Queer Horror Shorts From Dima Barch

Tuesday, February 13, 2024 | Reviews, Short Films


At just twenty-five years old, Dima Barch already appears to have lived multiple lives. Born in Moscow, Russia in 1998, Barch holds degrees in both journalism and film and has seen his film criticism published in GQ, Esquire, Forbes and Iskusstvo Kino, among others. However, Barch was forced to flee his homeland as a result of the extreme censorship and persecution of LGBT+ individuals in Russia and has found a home abroad in the international genre film community. Recently awarded the George A. Romero Film Fellowship, Barch is also a mentee of modern queer horror master Carter Smith (The Ruins, Swallowed, The Passenger). 

So far, Barch has written and directed two short films and currently has both a script and another feature film in development. His first short film, “Dead End” – which Barch describes as his “first and last film made in my own language” – premiered at Beyond Fest and went on to be selected by more than twenty international film festivals, including Panic Fest, Morbido Fest, Salem Horror Fest, Queer Screen’s Mardi Gras Film Festival and more. After finding refuge in Berlin, Germany, Barch was able to make his second short, “The Power of the Strike.“The Power of the Strike” has screened at Monster Fest and SoHo Horror Film Fest in 2024, and is set to arrive on Screambox later this year. RUE MORGUE is thrilled to highlight the works of Barch, a talented and cutting-edge creative. 

Dima Barch

“Dead End” (2022)

Employing both magical realism and a psychological ghost story, “Dead End” is a deeply personal representation of Barch’s struggles with homophobia, self-acceptance, and depression. The short invokes the mythological Furies, avengers of the underworld, as protagonist Nick attempts to escape the wrath of his recently deceased abusive boyfriend, Godfrey. Godfrey is a spiritual fanatic who takes out his own internalized homophobia on Nick, who is driven to take Godfrey’s life in a violent confrontation. But when Godfrey refuses to stay dead, Nick must try to outrun his vengeful spirit. Barch identifies “Dead End” as “queer horror that observes my personal struggles on the edge of my fleeing [Russia].” “Dead End” is a powerful and unnerving short that clearly displays Barch’s cinematic prowess. Aided by a pulsing synth score and artful cinematography, Barch delves into the depths of toxic masculinity in Russian culture and the anxieties that accompany fleeing for one’s life. 

“The Power of the Strike” (2023)

A violent revenge tale that takes cues from Saw, snuff found-footage and extreme cinema, “The Power of The Strike” is a high-tension thrill ride wherein a gay man is terrorized by a pair of men who arrange for him to kill another man, who once sexually assaulted him in the past. After waking up locked in a bowling alley, Alex must face down his captors in order to walk away with his life intact. It is no mistake that both of Barch’s shorts involve a gay man’s fight for survival. To Barch, “The Power of the Strike” represents “the reflection of the darkness that’s surrounding me these last two years,” following his departure from Russia. Made with a punk-rock ethos by a group of genre film enthusiasts, “The Power of the Strike” captures Barch’s defiant philosophy as a filmmaker, displayed through the resilience of the lead character Alex. “The Power of the Strike” is Barch’s first English-language production, but certainly won’t be his last, as he hopes to expand into feature filmmaking in the coming years. Don’t miss “The Power of the Strike” on the festival circuit this year! 

“The Power of the Strike” will continue to play festivals in the coming months and will become available to stream on Screambox in Fall 2024. Barch currently has two projects in development, ABSENCE and NOWHEREVER. Watch the trailer for “Dead End” here:


Grace Detwiler
Grace Detwiler (@finalgirlgrace) is a freelance film journalist and law student. Her original work can be found on her blog, FinalGirlGrace, as well as in Rue Morgue's print and online publications.