Brad Harrington (Bruce Davison) is happily married with his wife expecting their first child; the only problem is their neighbour is a pain in the butt who goes out of his way to make their life a misery. It is because their neighbour got petty over a wall and demolished it that Brad is picking up new garden supplies and ends up befriending Tim (Richard Thomas) a drifter who he takes home to help with the garden. But a confrontation sees Brad push his neighbour over and whilst he isn't looking Tim smashes his skull before convincing Brad that not only he did it but to cover up what has happened. With Brad thinking he killed his neighbour Tim starts causing chaos in his life as he tries to oust him and become the new man of the house and at the office.
In one form or another you are likely to have watched a movie like "Down, Out & Dangerous" before, it might not have featured a homeless guy but it will have featured a psycho who forces himself in to someone's life and makes life very difficult for them. As such when Tim murders Brad's neighbour but makes Brad think it was him who did it you can spot that not only will he use it to control and blackmail Brad but try and usurp Brad by one means or another to have the life that Brad has. The thing is that aside from Brad being terrorised by Tim who is a lot more devious than most think there isn't much more to the move other than some more killing and of course the inevitable climax of danger when things get out of hand.
But despite being pretty obvious "Down, Out & Dangerous" is still entertaining because Richard Thomas makes for a great psycho. I say psycho but what I mean is a cunning devil who has a charming quality to him when he wants to be but then extremely dangerous in the blink of an eye. And it is partly because you associate Richard Thomas with nice guy characters that he ends up so effective and impressive when being deadly devious. But the contrast works well with Bruce Davison as he also has that nice guy persona which makes him easy to like especially when he is being tormented by Tim.
What this all boils down to is that "Down, Out & Dangerous" is nothing new when it comes to story ideas with cover ups, blackmail and a psycho who torments his victim as he wants the life he lives. But what makes the movie is Richard Thomas whose nice guy persona makes for a shocking psycho who can turn on the nice guy routine whilst the whole time being deadly devious.