It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
The opening scenes of “The Deceivers” portray an India much loved by the Victorians, who thought they could export their civilization - styles, fashions, behavior and all - to every corner of the world and establish it there by sheer force of will.
An officer named William Savage takes his new bride to live in an Indian station where he will represent the rule of the queen and where they dress in clothing hilariously inappropriate for a warm country and behave toward each other as if they were on the lawn of a British country house. Life is gentle and cultivated at their outpost, but one night Savage (Pierce Brosnan) goes walking in the bush and happens onto a scene of inconceivable savagery: A band of men are burying the victims they have killed and robbed.
Savage, who is more curious about the local ways than most of his contemporaries, discovers that these men are Thuggies, members of a ferocious, barbaric cult that practices private rituals, swears its members to secrecy on pain of death and kills its victims by ritual strangulation.
Savage is shocked again the next day when he learns that a young Indian woman in his district plans to commit ritual suicide by burning herself alive because her husband has been missing for a year, she assumes he is dead, and so her life is not worth living and she wants to join him in the next life. Savage is convinced by a friend that he can save the woman’s life by impersonating her husband and showing himself to her - at dusk, from a distance. Sounds like a good idea, and, whaddaya know, it works.