Secrets of the Shadow Sect (2024) poster
7.9
Your Rating: 0/10
Ratings: 7.9/10 from 765 users
# of Watchers: 2,343
Reviews: 4 users
Ranked #3146
Popularity #4899
Watchers 765

Morally ambiguous, the Spiritual Heaven Sect is an influential sect that has remained in seclusion for years. Its Young Lady, Ling Xuan, encountered a pair of dying siblings during her travels ten years ago. In exchange for saving the younger sister’s life, she proposed a ten-year pact with the young man. She brought him into the Shadow Pavilion of the Spiritual Heaven Sect for training. If he could survive and graduate ten years later, he would become her assistant. The young man fought desperately and finally left the Shadow Pavilion alive with a new name, Ying Shi. However, the Spiritual Heaven Sect has fallen into a vulnerable state. Ling Xuan’s father, the sect leader, coveted the Wanxin Technique and wanted to take it away from her mother. He incited chaos in the martial arts world and even turned against his own daughter. Forced to protect herself and devise a counterattack, Ling Xuan must disguise herself as a useless fool who is unreasonable and ruthless. At this very moment, Ying Shi is sent by the Shadow Pavilion to approach Ling Xuan in search of the Wanxin Technique. Through suspicions, testing, and dangers during their journey, they eventually build complete trust in each other. However, just as they have fallen for each other, Ling Xuan discovers the secret of Ying Shi's birth. (Source: Youku) Edit Translation

  • English
  • Español
  • Português (Brasil)
  • 한국어
  • Country: China
  • Type: Drama
  • Episodes: 24
  • Aired: Mar 12, 2024 - Mar 24, 2024
  • Aired On: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
  • Original Network: Youku
  • Duration: 12 min.
  • Score: 7.9 (scored by 765 users)
  • Ranked: #3146
  • Popularity: #4899
  • Content Rating: Not Yet Rated

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Cast & Credits

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Secrets of the Shadow Sect (2024) photo
Secrets of the Shadow Sect (2024) photo
Secrets of the Shadow Sect (2024) photo
Secrets of the Shadow Sect (2024) photo
Secrets of the Shadow Sect (2024) photo
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Reviews

Completed
amusedbush
10 people found this review helpful
Mar 30, 2024
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
This review may contain spoilers

Secret to a Good Short Length Drama: Steal, Cheat, & Lie

I. The Good
I'm surprised that this drama is hovering at 7.8 stars at the time of review, but I'm more surprised by the ease at which I am rating this a 9 out of 10 stars. There are a plethora of good things to rave about.

The storyline is short, sweet, and compelling, told with a dash of titillating scenes. The FL is introduced as an unconcerned equal-opportunity hussy, who allows only good-looking toy boys to remain at her manor. Meanwhile, the ML graduated first class honours from bodyguard-cum-assassin training school. Quite early on, the audience are given hints that the ML is not who he says he is, but for his purposes, he introduces himself to the FL as one sibling of the pair that she'd save a decade ago. The FL is intrigued by his good looks and allows him to remain, and the first few episodes play with the question of where his loyalties lay. He ultimately proves himself loyal to the FL, whereupon she promptly devours him like a delicious snack (who wouldn't?). After the FL defeats who she thinks is the main villain, the real villains rise from the embers to steal her happiness and reveal who has been cheating and lying to her (spoiler alert: everyone). The drama does close with happy ending, so rejoice you faithless creatures.

The acting was surprisingly good. HYY (FL) was luxuriously seductive when playing the coquette, but could subtly shift her expressions and gestures to play the restrained daughter and weary human. LZH (ML) played his role as an outraged virgin, serious bodyguard-assassin, mortified ex-virgin, and shy simp with equal skill-- but I was so distracted by how he looked like Wang Hedi for most of his scenes. WTH (FL's brother) effortlessly portrayed a mild-mannered obsessive antagonist.

The makeup, costumes, and set are exquisitely gorgeous-- so much so, I'm wondering what was the budget for this drama. They were full-length-drama worthy. The theme songs were equally poignant and liable to give you stuck song syndrome.

II. The Bad (Major spoiler alert!)
The drama doesn't tie up all loose ends neatly. We never find out why the ML was so intent on killing the assassin he chased down in episode 1 (although one assumes that is who murdered Bai Chen), who is Ling Rong's father, when or why did Ya Shu join the FL's camp, or when did Zhan Yue Chi meet the FL and why is he so obsessed with her. The scenes also had minor struggles with continuity issues. For example, during their date night, the FL had run off with the lube and the ML was left holding the mask. But in the next scene, the FL is holding the mask in her left hand and dragging the ML along with her right. Cut to the next scene, and the mask is back in the ML's hand.

All these are minor issues that don't really mess with the audience's viewing pleasure. I still would have ignored these pesky details and rated this drama higher if it weren't for the ugly.

III. The Ugly
Episode 23 is quite literally ugly, and episode 24 is storytelling ugly. We've been given beautiful scenes and seamless choreography all the way up to Episode 23, when suddenly at the last minute, utterly awful CGI rises and smashes you across the face like a sperm whale. Episode 24 doesn't explain why the ML runs off, or why he is so adamant to not return with the FL. Although he supplies a weak answer about visiting his sister, the explanation doesn't justify his strong reaction. It is as if we're missing crucial 5 minutes that the production team ultimately decided to cut out, but failed to consider how the episode appears without those scenes. They tried to fix it with the FL's response and offer, but even one line from the ML along the lines of "You know me so well" would have smoothed out the incongruous scene.

IV. Final Words
Ultimately, this drama is captivating and unputdownable. Except for the few irksome flaws, you will blast through the ~240 minutes directly and go back for seconds.

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Completed
virgievirgie
4 people found this review helpful
Apr 15, 2024
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 2
Overall 7.5
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 7.0
Music 7.5
Rewatch Value 7.5

Interesting general plot for a mini drama but with poor acting

Subjective Gut Rating - 7.75

The general plot of this mini web drama “Secrets of the Shadow Sect” is comparable to that of a bigger budget production. I find the story interesting with a FL lead who is not who she appears to be. We got a glimpse of her frivolous lifestyle and then dove right into the secret that she has. The plot continues on how her father wants that secret of hers, and expands to an evil stepmother wanting her son to be the Master of the Sect. On the other hand, we have our ML trying to get close to FL. His true intentions are slowly revealed but you won’t get the full story until the end.

All this is enough to be a full-length drama with at least 24 episodes. I think “Secrets of the Shadow Sect” did a pretty good job in consolidating all this into 3.5 hours, except for the last few episodes. The big reveal is not unexpected but could have benefited from a couple more episodes. The writing of the last episode doesn’t make sense and seems too rushed. The explanation from ML is so bad that I am sad to see it end on a low note, when I’ve enjoyed most of the episodes.

The weakest part of this drama is the acting. Both leads, Hu Yi Yao and Lin Ze Hui have appeared in quite a few mini dramas. Unfortunately, I find their acting below-average. Hu Yi Yao is so beautiful. When she plays a more seductive Ling Xuan in the early episodes, she is a lot better than in later scenes when she needs to do more subtle or emotional acting. She looks like a very pretty doll. On the other hand, Lin Ze Hui is worse. I do not think he looks handsome in this style (his profile pic on MDL is much better). His big eyes are not doing him any justice as he just widens them when he’s upset, surprised or happy. There’s no subtle microexpressions at all.

Ending on a positive note, for such a low budget drama, it does not look cheap. The sets, costumes, accessories, makeup and cinematography are not bad. Special props to the hairstylist and costume designer who did a fabulous job in dressing FL. She looks so much prettier than other female leads I’ve seen in recent period dramas.

Although the drama is quite predictable, the general story is still quite good and keeps me invested and entertained. It might not be on par with the likes of “The Killer is Also Romantic” or “A Familiar Stranger” but it’s better than most short mini dramas. If you have 3.5 hours to kill, it’s not bad.


Completed: 4/9142024 - Review #427

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Details

  • Drama: Secrets of the Shadow Sect
  • Country: China
  • Episodes: 24
  • Aired: Mar 12, 2024 - Mar 24, 2024
  • Aired On: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
  • Original Network: Youku
  • Duration: 12 min.
  • Content Rating: Not Yet Rated

Statistics

  • Score: 7.9 (scored by 765 users)
  • Ranked: #3146
  • Popularity: #4899
  • Watchers: 2,343

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