Spielberg made us scared to go into the ocean and Hitchcock made us scared of showers; both masterful directors teaching us that there is power in not just sharing a story, but leaving some lingering residue. They took ordinary things like swimming and showering and replaced the common images with someone unexpected.
I spent a day off recently playing "Jurassic Park," "Jaws," "Duel," and "Rear Window," "The Birds," and "Psycho" all day long while I worked on writing my horror novella.
The use of cinematography to show just enough to get a sense without giving the whole scene away, skewed camera angles, beautifully orchestrated music, vivid colors, and quirky and flawed characters--those are the things with which these directors made high impact movies.
The quest in these movies were simple things; deliver some love birds to a girl's birthday party, stare out your window while you're laid up with a broken leg, catch a shark--but they became indicative of life--a million roadblocks, difficult personalities, and the fears inside our own heads: "Does someone know I stole the money?" "Does the killer see me watching him?" "What if the boat sinks?"
A thousand directors can tell a story, but only a few can make you live it.